Arena

Sacramento Kings rename plaza site Downtown Commons

By Dale Kasler

dkasler@sacbee.com

September 16, 2015 02:00 AM

Much of Downtown Plaza is gone, and now the name is disappearing, too.

The Sacramento Kings said Wednesday they’re renaming the 44-year-old shopping mall, home of their new arena, Downtown Commons.

The new brand, which the team is shortening to “DoCo,” reflects the Kings’ attempts to breathe new life into the entire plaza area, not just the southeast corner of the site where the $507 million Golden 1 Center is being built. The team is building a hotel tower immediately north of the arena and is redeveloping much of the rest of the shopping mall.

The Kings also announced their first three retail tenants for the area surrounding the arena. All are out-of-town restaurant chains that will be making their Sacramento debuts: a barbecue joint, a pub and a giant family-style eatery that will include a bowling alley and various arcade games. The family-style restaurant will be on the second floor of the hotel tower.

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Construction of the arena, which is due to open in October 2016, has boosted the central city real estate market, and Kings officials say renaming the plaza is in line with that.

“We’re working hard to develop and re-energize the downtown, and DoCo sits at the center of it all,” team chairman Vivek Ranadive said in a prepared statement.

The rebranding also erases a bit of Sacramento history. Once a dilapidated neighborhood, the site became the retail heart of downtown when Macy’s opened there in 1963 at a ribbon-cutting attended by Gov. Edmund G. “Pat” Brown. It became known as Downtown Plaza in 1971 as other retailers arrived. The Kings bought the plaza for $48 million and tore down most of the eastern half of the mall to clear room for the arena.

Ultimately the team and its development partner JMA Ventures expect to create 1.5 million square feet of space beyond the arena walls, anchored by a sculpture by renowned artist Jeff Koons. Initial construction has begun on the 16-story, $300 million hotel tower, which will include office space, retailing and condo units.

Of the initial retail tenants, the most striking will be Punch Bowl Social, a Denver chain with five locations. Besides the restaurant itself, the 22,000-square-foot location will include private karaoke rooms, an eight-lane bowling alley and a darts lounge. The site is scheduled to open about when the hotel does, in early 2017.

Pour Society, a 6,000-square-foot American-style pub, is scheduled to open in the fall of 2016 near Macy’s at the western end of the mall. This will be its third location, after Las Vegas and Houston. Pour Society is the brainchild of celebrity chef Bradley Ogden.

Sauced BBQ and Spirits, a small Bay Area chain, will open a 9,100-square-foot restaurant at the east end of the mall, at the corner of Seventh and K streets in fall 2016. This will be its third location as well, following Livermore and Petaluma.

Kings officials indicated that hometown retailers and restaurants will become part of the mix as more tenants are announced. On Tuesday, the team announced that four Sacramento-area restaurant groups will operate food-and-beverage concessions inside the arena itself.

Sacramento Kings President Chris Granger updates the status of the Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento. José Luis VillegasThe Sacramento Bee

Time lapse of Downtown Plaza demolition – July through October 2014 – in preparation for the new Sacramento Kings Arena, which is scheduled to be completed on Oct. 2016. Randall BentonThe Sacramento Bee

Dale Kasler: 916-321-1066, @dakasler