Tuesday, September 29, 2015

How much will the new downtown arena really benefit Sacramento's economy?

If you’ve drive through downtown Sacramento lately, it’s impossible to miss the area’s signature construction project, a downtown arena to host the Sacramento Kings, called the Golden 1 Center and set to open in 2016. This ambitious $507 million arena build is already changing the look of Sacramento’s skyline, but will it have the same impact on the economic horizon? It’s hard not to welcome the arena to a city that desperately needs it on several levels – a new home for the Kings that ensures they won’t bolt to Seattle or Las Vegas, a chance to revitalize a shabby and underutilized downtown, and a chance to shed a reputation as a second city, despite being the capital.

But past all of the banner waving and encouraging rhetoric, what are the cold, hard, facts that display how the Kings new arena will affect the local economy?

Of course we can analyze the financials, but a better way to predict the economic impact of the new arena is to look at how similar arena projects across the nation have flourished – or floundered. .

First, the prognosis through rose colored glasses; despite a Sacramento city $258 million subsidy left on the books, Mayor Kevin Johnson and the Kings predict the new downtown arena – will spark the local economy to the tune of a $11.5 billion windfall, revitalizing the downtown and bringing renewed prosperity to the city’s business climate and citizens.

Critics of the arena deal, however, point to the imbalanced and somewhat ambiguous financials of this particular deal, as well as numerous studies that reveal that sports arenas help communities far less than thought. In fact, they say writing a blank check for the arena like that can even jeopardize the city’s budget and actually set the region back in the long run.

So who is right?

Only time will tell, but here are some key points to consider:

The city isn’t shy about citing an $11.5 billion economic impact, but it’s important to note that those numbers project over 35 years.

The fine print on the arena studies reveals that approximately 50% of that projected economic benefits is expected to come from bars, hotels, shops, real estate values, taxis, tourism, convention business, and other commercial development. Together, all of these are called “ancillary developments” and aren’t guaranteed.

Critics of the arena deal – not necessarily the arena – point to the uncertainty of those ancillary developments, as the term sheet approved by the City Council only guarantees the Kings will spend $189 million on the arena – not a cent to develop the rest of the Downtown Plaza or surrounding neighborhoods.

The city’s financing plan is largely based on borrowing against future parking garage revenue below the arena.

The huge bill pushed to the city’s side of the table after dinner will include $19 million a year in principal and interest payments. However, City Treasurer Russ Fehr predicts that the city will receive $2.7 million in new tax revenue once the project is completed –a meager return on investment that would have any first year economics student shaking their heads.

Numerous studies have analyzed the economic impact of new sports arenas and stadiums on their surrounding communities, including arenas in Atlanta, Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Denver, Indianapolis, and Cleveland, Milwaukee, San Francisco, and Oklahoma City.

Here is the short version of what they found: stadiums can and often do benefit the cities they’re built in, but so much depends on context.

For instance, NFL football stadiums, with only 8 regular season home games per year, offer the least economic returns for cities.

However, a well-placed baseball stadium in a downtown or industrial area in need of revitalization can provide a “major” benefit, probably the most of any sport. With 81 home games and 40,000+-seat attendance, baseball stadium builds provide the greatest immediate economic benefit.

However, basketball arenas sometimes provide the best combined returns, as there are at least 41 home games played in cold weather months when people usually otherwise stay indoors and don’t spend as much. Most importantly, the facility can be used for other venues like concerts, shows, events, and hockey and other sports.

Studies show that for a basketball arena to be a cash cow to the community, annual attendance needs to be at full capacity. The Kings only attracted 680, 049 people to their home games last year, one of the lowest in the NBA, although that could be a symptom of a bad arena and a bad team, not an indicator of a potential attendance cap. But the new Golden 1 Center is going to be one of the NBA's smallest arenas, with a capacity of 17,317 seats and only 30 luxury suites.

The Brookings Institution and Heartland Institute both back up research that shows that new pro sports facilities have “little impact or even a negative impact on net personal income of residents in the surrounding area.”

That’s because most of jobs created are minimum or low-wage jobs, the increase in real estate values prices many average people out of the rental and housing market, and dollars spent on sports games takes away from other events.  In fact, some research found that per capita income in cities with new arenas actually dropped by about $2,430.

Huge gains are expected for already-wealthy restaurateurs (Randy Paragary), hotel, commercial, and real estate developers – not the average Sacramentan.

Notable sports economist Roger Noll at Stanford University, thinks that a city the size of Sacramento can expect only $10 million to $15 million a year in new revenue from the arena.

Other comprehensive studies, such as the one conducted by Geoffrey Propheter of George Washington University and published in The Journal of Urban Affairs, indicates a half empty, half full glass when it comes to the question, “Do basketball arenas act as catalysts for economic development?”

According to Propheter, “The results suggest that basketball arenas do not add economic value on their own but instead are highly dependent on the local economic, social, and cultural context where they are located.”

Within that open door of “context” is where hopes for the King’s arena can enter.

Considering that Sacramento is the capital of California yet still just a big town compared to metropolitan areas like San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, and San Diego, the city is sorely in need of a thriving professional sports franchise, a revitalized downtown, and a signature project to rally around.

The arena is expected to be a shot in the arm for the struggling hotel industry in Sacramento, which declined to an all-time low of 50% vacancies six years ago, but already on the uptick to a normalized average of 62%. Already, several luxury and big-money hotel projects are underway, and analysts predict a 6% increase over the next few years as the arena is built.

Along with a huge boost to hotel business comes unlimited potential to Sacramento’s convention and conference business and increased revenues for the region’s Sacramento International Airport, which is already planning expansion and a beautiful new hotel complex.

One independent study found that the Sacramento arena will attract 1.6 million new visitors a year to downtown, spending $230 million parking, eating, drinking, shopping, and yes – watching Kings games.

But more than just the arena, Mayor Kevin Johnson is most excited about the four-block, one-billion-dollar real estate development that will bring restaurants, new offices, hotels, and family entertainment downtown, bolstering his city.

"We’re in a new era called Sacramento 3.0,” says Johnson. “Where we do things differently and where we control our own destiny. It’s bigger than basketball. We’re revitalizing our downtown. It’s about civic pride."

So what’s the answer to the burning question, “Will the arena really benefit the economy of Sacramento?”

We’d love to hear your thoughts, opinions, and concerns, so email us or comment below:  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Neighborhood and City Spotlight: Granite Bay, California

Granite Bay is one of the most desirable places to live in all of northern California, with a high quality of life enjoyed by residents that includes a fantastic location, affluent neighborhoods with luxury homes, a strong school system, low crime rates, and easy access to fine dining, golf, and plenty of outdoor recreation.

A Profile of Granite Bay

The beautiful community of Granite Bay is a census-designated place (CDP) in Placer County, California. Spanning a total area of 21.6 square miles, Granite Bay lies in the foothills only 25 miles from the Sacramento capital, an easy commute for those who wish to work downtown.

22,204 residents call Granite Bay home as of 2014, a rise of 13.67% since the 2000 census.

Granite Bay enjoys a reputation as one of the nicest communities to live in both California and the United States. In fact, it just ranked highly for:

Ranked #6 Best Cities for Teleworking - Large Metro Areas
Ranked #7 Best-Rested Cities 2011
Ranked #7 Healthiest Cities
Ranked #8 Stressful Cities 2012

Granite Bay’s Golden History

The community where Granite Bay now sits was first sprung forth in the 1850s as a Gold Rush settlement. In fact, it was first known as “Granite Bar,” a mining and panning community just south of Horeshoe Bar. Roads were developed to connect the camps, and irrigation provided by the North Fork Ditch allowed workers to settle down in the area and start planting almond and olive orchards.

By the 1950s, two large cattle ranches encompassed Granite Bay, enjoying its green pastoral hills and abundant water. Building of subdivisions like Granite Bay Vista started in the 1960s, but the area didn’t get its official name until July 28, 1987.

Granite Bay derives its name from both the area of water in adjoining Folsom Lake and its unique geological origins. In fact, the entire area sits on a foundation of granodiorite from the Cretaceous age. Fossils from ocean sediment dating back 80 million years have been discovered in Granite Bay, often during construction.

Affluence, Income, and Employment in Granite Bay

Granite Bay is one of the mist affluent communities in Sacramento and Northern California. The average household income is $160,578 and the median is $123,631, well above the U.S. household median of $51,393. The economy of Granite Bay is always thriving, providing a strong tax base for community improvements. The medical industry is the leading employer in the area, accounting for 2.3% of all jobs, with plenty of careers in finance, computer tech, and tech manufacturing.

However, living in Granite Bay comes with a high price tag, as it’s been named one of the 25 American cities in the nation with the highest cost of living, a whopping 97.9% higher than the U.S. average.

Safety and Community in Granite Bay

Granite Bay is considered a very safe, family friendly community with low crime rates. In fact, the overall crime rate there is 36% lower than the national average and Granite Bay is safer than 56% of all cities in the U.S. Crime is actually diminishing, not increasing, in Granite Bay, as the number of total crimes in Granite Bay has decreased by 3% this year.

Part of the reason Granite Bay is so safe and family oriented can be attributed to the positive impact of the Granite Bay Community Association, of GBCA. Established in 1987 by residents who wanted to preserve the rural quality of life of the community, the volunteer organization still is highly active in many facets of life there, issuing newsletters, aiding residents, providing information and developments, and coordinating meetings, gatherings, events in conjunction with local government.

Education and Schools in Granite Bay

Granite Bay is one of the state’s highest performing districts for standardized test scores, with only one public high school, Granite Bay High. Residents of the community are extremely well educated on a whole, with 96.8% of all residents over 25 years old having earned their high school diploma or higher, 54.2 earning Bachelor’s degrees or more, and an impressive 23.5% achieving a graduate or doctoral degree.

Real Estate, Sales, and Home Ownership in Granite Bay

Due to the high quality of life in the area and prosperous community, Granite Bay real estate always moves quickly and sells for top dollar. The median home cost in Granite Bay is now approaching $660,000, which is still down from the high point when home values were well into the $700s during the boom. But the market has rebounded nicely, with 24.3% appreciation over the last year.

There are 7,694 households in Granite Bay, with 89.8% owned by the occupants, 12.1% rentals, and 4.1% vacant. While it may seem like many of the neighborhoods in Granite Bay consist of newer, modern homes, in fact, 42% of homes in the area were built between 1970 and 1989, and another 26% between 1990 and 1998.

Granite Bay is a hot bed for luxury real estate and million dollar homes, with approximately 25% of all listings priced over $1,000,000 at any given time, and 1% over the $2,000,000 mark.

Recreation and Entertainment in Granite Bay

There’s no shortage of fun and healthy activities for the whole family in Granite Bay, including visits to Quarry Ponds, Otow Orchards, Rickey Ranch Pumpkin Patch, local farmer’s markets, fun runs and races, and swimming, hiking or boating at Folsom Lake. American River recreation will set you up for a day of rafting or kayaking, and golf enthusiasts can swing away to their heart’s content at the Sierra View Country Club, Granite Bay Golf Club, or public 9-hole Rolling Greens Golf Course

Chez Daniel, Farm Haus Fresh, Back Wine Bar and Bistro, Hawks, Vaiano Trattoria, Source, and Bernardos are just a few of the signature fine dining venues in Granite Bay

Notable Granite Bay Residents

Maureen Reagan - Daughter of Former President Ronald Reagan lived in Granite Bay until her passing
Eddie Murphy – Actor and comedian
John Travolta and wife Kelly Preston - Actors.
Summer Sanders - Multiple gold medalist in swimming at the 1992 Summer Olympics, TV Sports commentator and personality
Steve Sax - Retired MLB baseball player (primarily second baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, and Oakland Athletics)
Tobin Esperance - Bassist of band Papa Roach
Jeff Keith - Singer of band Tesla
Chris Webber - Retired Sacramento Kings power forward and center
Jason Williams - Orlando Magic, former Sacramento Kings point guard
Shareef Abdur-Rahim - retired National Basketball Association (NBA) player and current Assistant GM for the Sacramento Kings
Rick Adelman - former Sacramento Kings head coach
Dusty Baker - Cincinnati Reds Manager, former San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs manager and MLB player
Steve Cook - Former professional ten-pin bowler and member of the PBA Hall of Fame

Suited for Success; A History of Business Suits and Fine Fashion.

"You cannot climb the ladder of success dressed in the costume of failure." 
-Zig Ziglar

From the debonair tuxedos of James Bond to the fiercely understated skinny ties and black suits of Mad Men, three-piece buttoned-up Presidential hopeful Donald Trump or even the beloved Clark Kent before his phone booth transformation to Superman, everyone loves the business suit. Classic, powerful, confidence-inspiring and sometimes sexy, there really is no greater tool in the world of business than a refined and well-dressed man or woman. 

Today, we'll celebrate and explore the history of business suits, as a few universal and time-tested rules for wearing one to perfection. 

1. The word suit come from the French word suite, which means "following", from some late Latin derivative form of the Latin verb sequor = "I follow", because the component garments (jacket and pants and vest) follow each other and have the same cloth and color and are worn together.

2. Originating in the United Kingdom as ‘country wear’, suits are now an ever popular part of every professional’s closet across America.

3. There are several different variations of design, cut, and cloth, such as: single and double breasted, two- (jacket and pants) and three-piece (jacket, pants, and vest). These variations define whether the garment is suitable for social or work environments. Typically, the more conservative the color and cut, the more suited it is for the workplace.

4. Originally, as with most clothes, a tailor made the suit from his client's selected cloth; these are now often known as ‘bespoke’ suits. The suit was custom made to the measurements, taste, and style of the man.

5. Until around the 1960s, as with all men's clothes, a hat would have also been worn when the wearer was outdoors. God forbid today’s man would have to mess up their S.E.C. swoop.

6. Since the Industrial Revolution, most suits are now mass-produced, and, as such, are sold as ready-to-wear garments (though alteration by a tailor prior to wearing is common). The Brooks Brothers Company first introduced these ready-to-wear suits. Currently, suits are sold in roughly four ways:

   bespoke, in which the garment is custom-made by a tailor from a pattern created entirely from the customer's measurements, giving the best fit and free choice of fabric;

   made to measure, in which a pre-made pattern is modified to fit the customer, and a limited selection of options and fabrics is available;

   ready-to-wear, or off-the-rack, which is sold ready to be tailored, or finally as

   suit separates, where the coat and pants are sold separately allowing a customer to choose the size that is best for them and limit the amount of alterations needed.

7. The current styles were founded in the revolution during the late 18th century that sharply changed the elaborately embroidered and jeweled formal clothing into the simpler clothing of the British Regency period, which gradually evolved to the stark formality of the Victorian era. It was in the search for more comfort that the loosening of rules gave rise in the late 19th century to the modern business suit that is popular in America today.

8. In the U.S. people often wear a suit to a job interview. The best bet for wearing a suit to an interview, is to go for a conservative style that is either grey or navy blue. Of course the level of conservatism can change depending on the organizational culture of the industry in which you’re interviewing. Interview suits are usually composed of wool or a wool-blend fabric that is a solid color, or has a fine pin stripe pattern.

9. Men’s suits have become far less common as an outfit of daily wear in modern society. During the 1990’s, driven in part by the meteoric rise of newly successful technology companies with different cultural attitudes, the prevailing management philosophy of the time moved in favor of more casual attire for employees; the aim was to encourage a sense of openness and egalitarianism.

10. "Business casual" dress still tends to be the norm for most workers up to and sometimes including mid-level management. Traditional business dress as an everyday style is generally limited to middle- and upper-level corporate management (now sometimes collectively referred to as "suits"), and to the professions (particularly law).

Women’s Suits-

11. Suit-wearing etiquette for women generally follows the same guidelines used by men, though they have more flexibility in terms of style and color than men do.

12. For women, the dress suit or skirt suit are both acceptable; a blouse, which can be white or colored, takes the place of a dress shirt. Women's suits can also be worn with colored tops or T-shirts.

13. Women generally do not wear neckties with their suits. Fancy silk scarves that resemble a floppy acsot tie became popular with women in the U.S. in the 1970’s.

14. By the 1980’s, women were entering the white-collar workforce in increasing numbers and their dress fashions adopted looks that were more similar to that of their male counterparts in the business world.

15. By the early to mid-1980s, conservatively tailored skirt suits were the norm, in the same colors and fabrics considered standard in men's suits. These were typically worn with buttoned-up collared blouses, usually white or some pastel in color.

The Do’s and Don’ts of suits-


16. Get your pants taken up if they gather at the point where they meet your shoes. Ideally, pants should break on top of your footwear, or sit just above it.

17. Make sure your jacket tapers at the waist to help accentuate your shoulders, regardless of how big they are.

18. Ensure your jacket sleeves sit at the top of your wrists. This will allow for a quarter to half an inch of shirt cuff to show.

19. Always go for a classic cut, rather than a contemporary. Navy blue or charcoal grey are your best bets when buying your first suit, as its versatility will mean you’re able to get plenty of wear from it.

20. Buy yourself two pairs of pants if you plan on wearing your suit to work everyday, as they’ll often wear out before the jacket does.

21. Don’t ever do up the bottom button on a two or three-button suit.

22. Don’t get your suit dry-cleaned too often, as the chemicals used in dry cleaning will eventually cause your suit to wear out and go shiny.

23. Don’t try and be too flashy with your footwear. It’s best to stick with a traditional pair of classic Oxfords or penny loafers, as the wrong choice can instantly destroy the impact of a well-cut and composed suit.
24. Don’t leave the brand label on your jacket sleeve, regardless of where you bought it.

25. Don’t think knowing a good tailor is inconsequential, as the odd tweak here and there can make a $175 suit look like a $1,750 suit.