Lukenbill Sells 5% of Kings to Finance New Stadium

From Associated Press

Pressed for cash to continue construction of a multipurpose Sacramento sports stadium, Sacramento Kings managing general partner Gregg Lukenbill has sold 5% of the NBA team, its arena and about 500 acres of land to business partner Joe Benvenuti.

The Sacramento Bee reported today that Lukenbill has had a cash shortage in his crusade to bring professional sports to Sacramento.

The newspaper story quoted Lukenbill as saying earlier this week, “I hope I can find someone to buy another 10% to keep going and make things move more quickly.”


It said Lukenbill is trying to build a new $100-million stadium without long-term financing or a tenant to pay the bills.

Lukenbill, the managing general partner of the NBA team, sold the 5% from his 33% holding in the Sacramento Sports Assn. for $5 million and Benvenuti’s assumption of roughly $5 million in debt. In a change of strategy, Lukenbill negotiated the deal after spending the last two years trying to decrease Benvenuti’s 50% share of the association, it said.

Lukenbill said the sale will give him enough cash to keep stadium construction going for another 30 to 45 days.

After that, Lukenbill said, he’ll regroup and maybe sell more of his interests to work on the stadium. A city rezoning plan prohibits much of the area north of the stadium from being developed until the project is completed, and Lukenbill hopes to get some of those landowners to contribute to the project.

“When it’s all over with I may own 20% or 15%, or I may own none of it. I don’t know. I don’t really care as long as the stadium gets built and we get teams here,” the 35-year-old developer said.

Construction of the stadium began about six months ago, while Lukenbill and Benvenuti were pursuing the Raiders. The first $7-million phase--the foundation, concrete concourse and clubhouse areas--is scheduled for completion in July. Lukenbill said he hopes to have the whole project finished--with 43,000 seats for baseball and 53,000 for football by 1992.

The only potential tenant on the horizon is a team in the new international football league that would play five spring games at a Sacramento stadium if the city is awarded a franchise.

Lukenbill said he became convinced during the Raiders’ episode that Sacramento won’t get major-league baseball or football teams until it has a stadium.

“That is where we’re going,” Lukenbill said.