Tuesday, November 15, 2005

More Downtown Redevelopment Money

Looks like the city is going to get some more redevelopment money for downtown to the tune of 120 MILLION dollars. Of which 20M is going to the Oak Park area.

As the article says, it sounds like a lot, but that money can go very very fast. As my list below shows, there probably isn't enough money to get them all done right now with jsut this money, so using it as efficiently as possible is critical.

While the priority can probably be debated, this is where I think they generally rank for me:

1) K Street Mall
This is no brainier. Downtown will NEVER fully get going without K Street getting cleaned up. Use whatever money is necessary to ensure the 700 block, 800 block and 10th and K get completed with high quality housing, retail and entertainment

This should include new space for performing arts, Sacramento Symphony, Philharmonic, and Ballet at 10th and K

2) Move the Greyhound
Other than the above, nothing else would provide a bigger boast to the area.

3) Renovation of the Community Center into the Sacramento Performing Arts Center
This is long over due. I've never like the bunker cold empty feeling look to the CC. Upgrades to the backstage area could hopefully help attact more touring shows that skip Sacramento due to poor facilites. I would have love to have seen Wicked stop in Sac. But we need better faculties to accommodate them

Rendering of renovations:

4) Mixed-Use Housing on IJKL Street. Must include true affordable housing.
Normally, this would be #1 on the lsit. But with all the momentum in housing right now, I think the private section will be able to handle most of it without public money. The part where this money should come into play is affordable housing. Use this money to build affordable OWNERSHIP housing.

5) Replacement SROs
We need to move some of the SROs from the K Street area. Having them all concentrated in one area puts a major damper on the area. Closing them and leaving people nowhere to go is not the answer. We need to build quality SRO housing, with assistance services, to replace the ones that have fallen into down right despair.

6) Street Cars
I think it’s very important to improve the public/mass transit in downtown. If we want the large amounts of people to move downtown and leave cars at home, we need to be able to get them around at a much more efficient speed than light rail currently provides. The Portland Street cars are perfect examples of this.

These two were hard to choose from, plus private money can be raised to help out:
Tie -7) Bring a Major Culinary or Art School Downtown
While I'm not sure of the current options for people. Me not knowing any probably means there isn't a whole lot out there. This would be a great way to improve the cultural facilities of downtown. This will also help keep people who want that education in Sacramento versus going to SF or elsewhere. Keep our culturally educated people here in Sacramento.

Tie -7) A Sacramento MOMA, or similar high quality museum
Sacramentians have become much more sophisticated over the last 5-10 years with the influx of outside influences moving to our region. It's time for a new sophisticated museum. The Crocker is great, but major cities have more than one big time museum. Same can be said for the Community Center

9) MAJOR Retail
When I say major I mean, anchor department stores such as Saks, Dillards, Neiman Marcus, Create and Barrel, even a Target that is done right, (sorry no Wal-Mart). Having Macys downtown as the only major department stores really hurt the shopping experience. I'm not saying only national retailers, small boutiques are needed to, but in order to get mass people shopping downtown, you need that nationals.

More market-rate / luxury housing should take care of this, but sometimes the first couple need an extra incentives.

10) I don't want to see any of this money go toward office development.
I didn't have a #10 so I figure I'd add something I don't want it to be used for. While more office space is great, it's the last thing that is needed right now. Unless a MAJOR employeer (ie F500) wants to move here, then that changes things. Highly doubtful though

There are much more pressing needs at this time. Office development doesn't need city money anymore, it more than takes care of itself with just the private sector.

I'd be interested to see what the priorities for this money would be from other who read this blog.

City to get fresh funds for downtown
Mike McCarthy
Staff Writer

Sacramento's redevelopment officials plan to sell $120 million worth of new bonds next week, including $100 million for new housing, entertainment and retail projects in the central city.

The financing is the first wave of about $800 million in bond capacity that the downtown redevelopment area gained this spring, and comes after various developers have proposed several new housing and retail projects downtown. This first wave, if spent well, could create a big boost for the city's redevelopment goals.

The city hasn't assigned the money to any particular project yet, but some ongoing ventures will probably benefit, said Leslie Fritzsche, the city's downtown redevelopment manager.
One prime candidate is the planned overhaul of the south side of the 700 and 800 blocks of K Street. Retailer Joe Zeiden, owner of more than 70 Z Gallerie upscale home furnishings stores, plans to develop the 700 block with stores, restaurants and housing. Developer John Saca would build multi-story condos and retail on the other block.

Downtown interests are watching.
"It's really a great opportunity for us," said Michael Ault, executive director of the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, a coalition of landlords. "There are more projects than money, so they need to be strategic in how they utilize the fund. A lot of people would say $100 million is a ton of money. But that money can go quickly."

J, K and L come first

The city has set criteria for spending the money. The City Council, meeting as the redevelopment agency board, decided last month to spend 40 percent to 50 percent of the funds on projects that have retail, entertainment or related uses.

According to the criteria, such projects should build street life by attracting new shoppers and visitors downtown. Projects proposed on J, K and L streets between 4th and 15th streets get extra points, as do public improvements that support such development.

Another 40 percent to 50 percent of the money would help develop housing. State redevelopment law requires 30 percent of the money to be spent building homes for people with moderate to low incomes. And, again, the city would give the JKL corridor extra consideration.

The final 10 percent to 20 percent would be spent on such public improvements as landscaping barren areas, and on improving pedestrian safety and views. Projects that upgrade transportation and open space along the Sacramento River are a high priority too.

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