DSP Applauds Council Approval of Downtown ESC

The Downtown Partnership (DSP) issued the following statement in response to the City Council’s vote last night approving the Entertainment Sports Center (ESC).
“Sacramento took a huge leap forward,” said DSP executive director Michael Ault.  ”The ESC is the culmination of years of effort behind-the scenes for the DSP, and it has the potential to be the most transformative project our city has seen.”
DSP has long championed the effort to build a new ESC because of its projected impact on the region’s economy.  DSP staff and leadership have testified at hearings, participating in press conferences, identified the Downtown Plaza as an opportunity site for arena location, and work with community stakeholders and elected officials as advocates for the project.
“We have seen signs of change and renewed interest in downtown just from the ESC discussion.  Now that we are moving to action, that activity will grow,” said DSP Board Chair Janie Desmond-Ison. “The ESC represents the realization of one our organization’s top priorities. Development of that site will have a positive impact not only on additional development activity, but also in highlighting the need to address the social and economic challenges that face the urban core. DSP is committed to leading the way.”
DSP estimates approximately 1.1 million square feet of retail, 1.8 million square feet of office space, and 11,000 residential units could be built within the central city over the next 10 years. The excitement from the ESC is already attracting attention from investors and will help accelerate revitalization efforts.
As examples of renewed activity, Ison noted that dormant project sites like the 1000 block of J Street are attracting interest, while multiple locations along Capitol Mall that have been on hiatus may be back in action. A long-time blighted SRO adjacent to the arena, the Marshall Hotel, is ready for renovation. There is talk of building housing within blocks of the arena with the proposed 1,000 unit Sacramento Commons and the 80-unit i15 apartment building near the Memorial Auditorium. Major investments in the arts and cultural amenities from the Community Center Theater to the proposed Powerhouse Science Museum have become more viable and critical.
“Timing is everything,” said Ault. “If we want to leverage the economic impact of the ESC, collectively our community needs to be strategic. The ESC is just one step in the right direction.”