Construction on Sports and Entertainment Complex Puts Trades to Work
Demolition of the Downtown Plaza kicked off in August, and within days, the building at the corner of L and 5th Street was reduced to a pile of concrete and rebar.
A launch for the construction of the new $477 million dollar sports and entertainment facility was hosted by the Kings prior to the demolition. Dozens of union construction workers and Building Trades leaders gathered with Mayor Kevin Johnson and Kings President Chris Granger on August 1 to celebrate the beginning of work.
“Finally,” said Granger addressing the crowd in the pre-dawn hours near the Macy’s complex on L Street. “We are so excited to be here today.” Later, he added, “There were weeks when I did not think this was going to happen when I was at the NBA.”
Union workers in purple hardhats and safety vests posed for a crush of media before heading off for their first day on the job. Members from Laborers 185, IBEW 340, Carpenters 46, Operating Engineers 3, Iron Workers 118 and Teamsters are some of the first crews on the scene.
“It’s unbelievable, kind of shocking actually,” said IBEW 340’s Brett Stewart of the attention surrounding the kickoff. “It’s a long time coming, so it’s good.”
Stewart is a fifth year apprentice two months away from becoming a journeyman. “As an apprentice, you find work, so I would find work no matter what,” he said. “But this job is going to carry me to journeyman.”
Wayne Fortier, a fourth year apprentice with IBEW 340, was also excited to get to work. “It feels pretty good,” he said. “I was hoping to get this job. It’s just part of history.”
Operating Engineers 3 Business Representative Greg Dornback said that his Local has been “getting calls for a year” about the project, as members seek information on the jobs that will be available. “For the local guys around here, they are going to get some work,” he said.
Operating Engineers District Representative Rob Carrion added that there has been a lot of excitement surrounding the arena. “A lot of it is being part of something historical,” he said.
With Kings mascot Slamson at this side, Mayor Johnson highlighted the effort that went into making the project a reality. “Every step of the way we’ve had Democrats and Republicans, business and Labor, working together,” he said, before leading the crowd in a chant of “Sacramento, Go Kings!”
The facility is expected to be completed in 2016, and supply roughly 1,500 direct construction jobs, according to Dennis Canevari, who worked extensively on the project to streamline the Building Trades pre-apprenticeship program that is part of the labor agreement. “Not only will the arena provide work for our members for the coming two years, but it’s going to be the spark that ignites more development downtown,” he said.
Sacramento-Sierra Buidling Trades Business Manager Kevin Ferreira, who was also at the event, said, “This project is going to allow Building Trades members to really showcase just how experienced and capable we are. We’ll get this job done right.”
Mayor Johnson added that the construction workers he spoke with were committed to exceeding expectations.
“They literally said, ‘we are going to get four weeks of work done in two weeks,’” he said of conversations he had with constructions workers on site. “There is no doubt in their minds that we will be on time and on budget.”