SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — After years of wondering what will fill the old Sleep Train Arena in Natomas, city leaders and the Sacramento Kings have a plan.

On Wednesday, officials revealed that California Northstate University plans to redevelop the site into a medical school and state-of-the-art teaching hospital.

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“With a medical school campus and teaching hospital, this project will serve as a hub of innovation and an economic driver for the entire region,” Kings Owner Vivek Ranadive said in a statement.

California Northstate University – a private, for-profit school – had recently been in talks with Elk Grove to build a new teaching hospital, but those plans were rejected by city leaders. 

Rancho Cordova later announced that they had started negotiations with California Northstate University. It’s unclear if those talks went anywhere, as Sacramento has now appeared to have moved to the front of the line.

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“This announcement fulfills a promise to North Natomas to replace the former Kings arena with an employment center and economic engine both for the community and for the city as a whole,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg in a statement.

Formerly known as ARCO Arena (and also Power Balance Pavilion), it was the Kings’ home court from 1988 to 2016 before they moved to the new Golden 1 Center in Downtown Sacramento.

The old arena has seen some sporadic use since being closed, with it most recently being converted into a surge hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby, answering questions about the project, said the old arena will be demolished.

With the Kings still owning the land of the Sleep Train Arena site, no significant development plans have been announced up until this point. The Kings have previously expressed interest in turning the site into a mixed-use development.

A vocal group has also been pushing for the Sacramento Zoo to relocate to the old arena site. However, a recent study found Natomas Regional Park as a preferred site.

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