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Sacramento group releases artist renderings for new Kings Arena

(Sacramento Bee/AECOM) An artist's rendering of a new Kings arena in Sacramento. (Sacramento Bee/AECOM)

The ongoing fight for the future of the Kings now has another battlefield: dueling artistic renderings.

Back in March, an investment group intent on relocating the Kings to Seattle released images of a proposed Sonics Arena.

On Wednesday, the Sacramento Bee published renderings of Sacramento's proposed Downtown Plaza arena. The Sacramento City Council recently approved a deal between Mayor Kevin Johnson and developers to construct a new facility that would replace Sleep Train Arena, which opened in 1988, as the Kings' home.

The renderings show an arena on the L Street side of the current plaza, with a large, open pedestrian gathering area where the middle of the mall now sits.

The inside of the arena shows windows along the top of the upper bowl, much like Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. There's also a rendering of a VIP suite and a bar dubbed the Bunker Club.

Above, a look at the arena's glass-heavy, wide concourse. Below, a few more shots. Be sure to check out the Sacramento Bee's full photo gallery.

Here's a look at the interior, which appears to include a lower bowl, a luxury suite level and a traditional 300 level, plus some segmented seating areas at the top of the 100 level.

(Sacramento Bee/AECOM) An interior rendering of a new Kings Arena in Sacramento. (Sacramento Bee/AECOM)

Here's an exterior shot of the arena. The glass and orb-like design combine to offer a futuristic vibe.

(Sacramento Bee/AECOM) An exterior rendering of a new Kings Arena in Sacramento. (Sacramento Bee/AECOM)

NBA commissioner David Stern said last week that a decision on whether the Kings will play in Sacramento or Seattle will finally be announced in early May.

The league’s finance and relocation committees will soon meet and produce a report and recommendation to the league's Board of Governors. League rules require a seven-day waiting period for that report to be considered before a final, definitive vote can be taken on whether the Maloof family’s sale agreement to a Seattle-area investment group and the group’s desired relocation of the franchise for the 2013-14 should be approved, or whether a competing Sacramento group’s bid should be accepted, keeping the team in California’s state capital. Stern said that the committee would likely issue its report on April 29 and the full Board of Governors would likely vote during the week of May 6-10.

According to Stern, the offers from the two cities were “in the same ballpark” and that the franchise’s fate is a “wrenching” decision that’s among the hardest he’s had to manage.

“It’s the only time in the last 47 years that I haven’t known the answer,” he said. “No, but this is one that’s just been quite difficult and confusing for the owners as well."

Seattle-area investors – led by Valiant Capital’s Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer – agreed to purchase a controlling interest in the Kings from the Maloof family back in January and filed paperwork to relocate the franchise to Seattle, where it would take on the SuperSonics nickname and play in KeyArena until the new stadium is constructed.

Johnson and a number of investors — including 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, billionaire Ron Burkle, TIBCO chairman Vivek Ranadive and Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs – have worked diligently to keep the Kings where they are and to generate plans for a new arena to accomplish that goal.

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