Monday, January 23, 2006

Bob Shallit: Cash Revives Reports of Airport Center Plan

Bob Shallit: Cash Revives Reports of Airport Center Plan
By Bob Shallit -- Bee Columnist

Hopes are rising - again - that a huge world trade center could be built on 1,800 acres near Sacramento International Airport.
The project has been the subject of secretive talks for more than six months. Deadlines have come and gone and most local business leaders have concluded the proposal is dead.

But now comes word that the project's backer - a Chinese investment group - has put down a hard money deposit on the acreage at what's called Metro Air Park, just east of Sac International.

It's not a lot of money. Perhaps just $250,000. But it's enough to convince some insiders that the proposal still has legs.

The idea is to establish a complex where dozens - perhaps hundreds - of Pacific Rim businesses can display their products. Although no one connected to the deal will talk about it publicly for fear of scaring off investors, there have been rumors it will include a hotel with a monorail between the center and the airport.

Insiders confirm that a good faith deposit has been placed in escrow and suggest a "meaty" announcement could be coming in the next 10 days. But it might be wise not to get too excited yet, given this project's numerous stops and starts.

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