Thursday, September 15, 2005

Firestone Building

Firestone Building
16th and L

Ever go down 16th Street and see the old Firestone Building at L Street and go: I wish they would do something with that building, it's on such a visable corner of downtown that is really seeing a lot of urban development in the surrounding area.

Well, here it is:

I must say I was somewhat disappointed at this. I had originally heard about a year ago that the owners were talking with developers Opus West about using the site for a mid-rise building that would hold about 100 for-sale condos and ground floor retail.

As you all know by now, I am HUGE on bringing as much housing to downtown as possible.

While the new restaurants, and from what it looks like a new club, will def keep the expanding nightlife and vibrancy going in that part of the city, I feel that an opportunity was missed to add some housing that would have had amazing views of Capitol Park.

I know there were preservation issues with the building and that they would be required to preserve the buildings first floor since it was so historic...*cough* OLD *cough* My feeling is that they were not able to build up and expand the project without doing some serious changes to the building, and preservationist would have probably flipped at that thought.

The design of the building is very boring, but as I said, I don't think they would a have been able to change much about the building without an upheaval from the preservationists in the city. I'm all for saving historic building that have a reason to be saved and can still be used economically, but I'm not sure this was one of them

Along with The Park that is being built on 15th and L, this is going to bring the nightclub number to 6 within a 10 block or so radius in a couple of years. It's going to be a very active area at night.

K Bar - K and 13th
Avalon - H and 15th
The Park - L and 15th (I'm really looking forward to Mason's!)
Firestone - L and 16th
East End Gateway Club - O and 16th
Empire - R and 15th

I've also heard that the owner of Aioli Bodega Espanola is opening a wine bar at either this location, or in the small building that is next door. Yes!!!

Even though there could have been something much grander here, this is still going to continue the renaissance of 16th Street into a great, great urban street. Within the next couple of years, we will see 16th Street from H Street all the way to P Street filled with loft living, restaurants, shopping, and nightlife all within a walkable scale.


Erik said...

I think a restaurant/club is a good use of this space. However, I'm also wondering when retail business other than restaurant will actually start becoming programmed for a lot of these new buildings. With a lot of new housing coming in downtown, wouldn't it logically follow that we need more than just 1 grocery store downtown, for example?

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Thanks for the comments Erik...

The new Safeway on 19th helped a lot for people in the midtown, but with a majority of the new housing will be going in the central business district. Having one there is pretty important.

Nugget has signed a letter of intent to open up a store as part of the Saca/Mohanna/Lambeth/Evergreen K Street proposal, but nothing new has come out about that recently. Problem is, they were looking to put Nugget where the greyhound currently is. That would be great, but the owner of the Greyhoud is looking to build his own high-rise there. (I need to write that one up..great looking building)

Saca was also talking with Whole Foods about moving into The Towers(Which I personaly thought would happen even before the news of them talking), but it fell apart becauase WF would have needed the entire ground floor retail space, and the numbers couldn't pencil out.

In the end, retail always follows the people / money. Once all the people start moving into these new condos and rentals, I'm pretty sure we'll starting seeing a lot more choices DT. Right now, there just aren't enough people in downtown with money to support another grocery store.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

What I would really like though instead of a fill grocery store is a couple mom and pop specialty stores, like Italian Importing Company or Corti Brothers type store that has a great deli.

There is actually an Italian Importing on J and 20th, but I'm greedy, I'd like to see one part of the East End Gateway retail so it's 3 block from my house!!

Erik said...

Yes, I agree... retail typically follows residential in the development process.

The Nugget idea is good. I attened the J-K-L corridor planning workshops last year, and there was more than one group that suggested some sort of grocery/market type use for the Greyhound space. Now that the 701 L St tower will likely demolish that building, it's anybody's guess about what location or configuration could accommodate such a use.

I'd like to see Westfield drop their ridiculous proposal for a Wal-Mart in the downtown plaza and opt instead for multiple tenants, including a possible grocery store like Nugget or Whole Foods fronting onto L St.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

I attended the JKL as well, seemed like everyone wanted a farmer market in the greyhound; I wasn't quite sold on that idea. If they could make it Pike Market quality, then I could be on board.

Yeah, the Wal Mart idea is just ridiculous. The worst part is, it seems like Westfield is hell bent on doing it even in the face of what is going on downtown with all these great proposals.

You would think with the large influx of people with money that will be (hopefully) arriving sooner than later, they would take the opportunity to finally bring in a big name anchor.

*begin rant*

Westfield is not an urban shopping company, they build run of the mill suburban crab. Westfield seems like they look at downtown Sacramento as a suburb. They really have no idea what it takes to make shopping work in our urban core. Even though the new one is SF looks awesome.

DTP is a bunker. No street life. If they would simply open up the mall to have retail face J and L Street it would add so much more energy to the area. Those black glass 3-story offices that front J Street are the worst.

*end rant*

btw..are you Erik with city planning?

Erik said...

Uh, no comment :) And yourself? You seem to know much more about all these projects... even more, perhaps, than the City's planners...

LivingInUrbanSac said...

:-) Nah, I don’t work for the city. I just really have a passion for this stuff and for seeing Sacramento really make that turn toward a big city, instead of a big town.

I have though been interested recently in a possible career change and about what qualification it would take to be a city planner...and pay. Where I am at right now, I make pretty good money, so I wouldn’t want to take much a cut.

Would you, eh I mean know anyone that would have this info? :)

Erik said...

You might want to look into this:

I can't promise it will be super educational if you are already somewhat familiar with the planning process. But there is some opportunity for learning how the City of Sac works.

The deadline for registration was a few days ago, but they may still accept some late registrants.

Anonymous said...

Well I had dinner at Mason's last week on a Tuesday night. First off, when we walked in we were asked if we had a reservation. I looked around at a half empty restaurant in the Tuesday night before Thanksgiving and told them no. They said just one moment. The Hostess then proceeded to make a reservation in their computer before finally seating us.

The entire place was sooooooooooo pretentious it was a joke. We had a cocktail before dinner and they got one of the three drinks wrong.

The dinner menu sounded great. We all ordered and got out appetizers and meal just fine (time wise)however, most of the food was average. Finished with coffee and a below average dessert. The final bill including tip was 178.00 for three people with only a total of 5 drinks.

It was very disappointing to say the least. Don't waste your time and money there! You can get a FANTASTIC meal for the same price or less at The Waterboy or Biba's which are both outstanding.