Reports: Downtown Plaza owners interested in Kings arena, backed by ownership group that might include Ron Burkle

Yet another buyer with local ties is emerging in the fight to keep the Kings in Sacramento.  The Sacramento Bee reports that a group, including the new owners of the Downtown Plaza shopping mall, would like to buy the team and have their own plans of building a new arena.

A source connected to the proposal said the group believes it would make a viable alternative to the Maloof family’s potential sale of the team to a consortium planning to relocate the Kings to Seattle.

A source said the group includes other deep-pockets investors who have the ability to pull the deal together.

“We make the case to the NBA that we’ve got the funding,” said the source, who insisted on anonymity.

JMA Ventures is part of the group that has proposed to buy the Kings.  The San Francisco investment firm purchased the Sacramento shopping center, which has faced its share of financial troubles, from Westfield Shopping Malls last year.

The Sacramento Bee’s source also tells the paper that the group has already conceptualized designs for a new arena that would be built at the shopping center’s location.  They have reportedly worked with AECOM, an architectural planning and design firm, to sketch the complex.  AECOM designed the Barclays Center, the home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.

Update (Sunday, 11:15 am): According to multiple reports, it appears the real estate and development firm is not looking to purchase the team.  Instead, JMA Ventures has had discussions with multiple groups interested in the Downtown Plaza as a possible site for a new Kings arena.  CBS 13 reports that Sacramento lobbyist Darius Anderson, who has ties to supermarket magnate Ron Burkle, is part of a group that would like to purchase the team and build a new entertainment and sports complex in the mall’s location.

Also, Scott Howard-Cooper reported yesterday evening that there are “strong indications” no deal has been reached by the Maloofs to sell the Kings to the Chris Hansen/Steve Ballmer-led ownership group.

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