By Tony Bizjak and Ryan Lillis
A few weeks ago, with the Sacramento Kings’ second season in their downtown arena approaching, brightly colored letters spelling out D-O-C-O suddenly showed up at three street-corner entrances to the arena area.
The 11-foot-tall purple, orange and red logos, short for Downtown Commons, look like playground toys for kids to climb on. But they also serve as symbols of a billion-dollar bet the Kings are making on the site of the failed Downtown Plaza shopping mall.
With online shopping on the rise and traditional retail malls struggling, the Kings hope to lure suburbanites, families, tourists and urban millennials downtown by building what they call a lifestyle district, where entertainment is the main selling point.
That effort, now in its second year, will take a major step forward next month with the opening of a 250-room upscale Kimpton hotel, the first major hotel in downtown in more than a decade, yards from the year-old Golden 1 Center. The hotel boasts a third-story pool deck with outdoor bar and lounge overlooking the plaza.
Within months, the Kings expect a steakhouse on the plaza, a bakery, an ice cream store and a supermarket-size game center called Punch Bowl Social with bowling, shuffleboard, karaoke, skee-ball, cornhole, Trivial Pursuit, wall Scrabble, chess and billiards. A multi-screen cineplex under construction will follow.
Retail stores will still play a significant role. Urban Outfitters recently announced it is moving its Arden Fair Mall store to DoCo. Macy’s opened a new entrance facing the arena. And the Kings are trying to lure more retailers, particularly clothing stores.
David Scanlon of Cushman and Wakefield, head of the DoCo retail leasing team effort, said the recent decision by Urban Outfitters is “a testament to the project. Each deal creates more momentum. Retailers are cautious, but DoCo is the kind of cool, unique experience they are looking for.”