Has a 'vacant' Sleep Train Arena helped Natomas development?

The circus closed the curtain as the final ticketed event at Sleep Train Arena last September.

The circus closed the curtain as the final ticketed event at Sleep Train Arena in September 2016. 

But, curtains are still going up in new homes near the arena in Natomas. 

"We have not heard complaints, we have not had a mass exodus," said Sacramento Councilwoman Angelique Ashby. "Gas stations are just as busy, the drive-thru's are just as busy, the sit-down restaurants are just as busy, and actually, more is coming." 

The area around the former home of the Sacramento Kings has more than 4,500 housing units in development. Moreover, there has been almost 1,000 building permits issued so far this year, from Westshore to Natomas Meadows.  

And it isn't just residential, commercial space and hotels are popping up too. 

The city of Sacramento's project list on Wednesday even had two hotel proposals, both on North Freeway Boulevard.

Just being able to build again has helped spur development as well. 

After Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans in 2005, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reevaluated levees. As a result, the Federal Emergency Management Agency remapped the Natomas basin and its flood zone designation in 2008. 

This caused, according to the city, a "de-facto building moratorium." Besides the area's flood zone status, the housing market crash at the time didn't help either. 

It wasn't until the Natomas basin saw a new, FEMA-approved flood zone designation in June 2015 after levee improvements that building resumed. 

As for the arena itself, whatever it turns into needs to be an "economic engine," according to Ashby, whether that's Amazon's second headquarters or something else.

For residents, the current vacancy doesn't hurt when it comes to vehicles on the road though. 

"As far as traffic is concerned, it’s nice to have it vacant versus occupied," said real estate developer Ethan Conrad. 

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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