The Sacramento Kings have officially broken ground on their new downtown arena.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and other city and team leaders gathered for a ceremonial groundbreaking at Downtown Plaza on Wednesday, though work at the site started months ago. The $477 million arena is expected to open for the 2016-17 season.
Sacramento won its fight with the NBA to keep the franchise from moving to Seattle in May 2013, when Ranadive bought the team from the Maloof family. Johnson also helped steer a $255 million arena subsidy through the City Council, which made sure the team would stay put in California’s capital city.
Johnson, a former NBA All-Star guard, calls the groundbreaking ”a historic day in the city of Sacramento.” Ranadive says it’s a ”new era” for the city and that a championship banner will hang from the arena’s rafters one day.