Wednesday, February 01, 2006

K Street Proposals Move Forward

It's with a tear in my eye (okay, not really) that I see 815L Street on the list of possible properties to be bought. Ah, the memories.

My only concern with the article is the worry about the cost of this. The city has 100M in redevelopment funds to use. I understand that we want to get as much as we can out of that money, but let's make damn sure it gets done this time and we don't nickel and dime the project into submission. This has been waaaaaay too long in the making.

As I wrote a short time ago, K Street should be #1 on the list of things for that 100M. Given how long K Street has suffered, 20M is a drop in the bucket. The city talkes about catalyst projects, this is the mother of all of them.

Click link for a picture of the properties to be bought. (I would post it, but I don't want the big bad Sac Bee people to get mad at me again)

Council reserves $20 million for K Street revival
Eight parcels will be purchased to create housing, retail space in revitalization bid

In an effort to revitalize struggling K Street, the Sacramento City Council has set aside $20 million to purchase eight parcels in the city's central core.

Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to use redevelopment funds to acquire six parcels in the 700 and 800 blocks of K Street and two others in the vicinity on L Street. Development plans call for new retail space and housing to move forward on those streets.

"This is something we need to do; it's been a long time coming," said Councilman Ray Tretheway, whose district includes downtown. "Let's get it started."
Even though Tretheway was glad to see progress, he said he was concerned about the hefty $20 million price tag.

Leslie Fritzche, the downtown division manager of the city's Economic Development Department, said separate parties owned all eight parcels and each negotiation would be private.
"We are mindful that we need to keep negotiations to the lowest dollar amount possible," Fritzche said.

City officials have said one of the biggest obstacles to pushing forward on K Street is cobbling together blocks of land from several owners to make a revitalization project possible.
It is not anticipated that existing businesses will be included in the new projects, so those redevelopment funds also will go toward relocating those merchants.

The move toward acquiring the downtown land emphasizes the city's commitment to turning around downtown.

A year ago, the city adopted a get-tough approach and gave property owners in the 700 and 800 blocks of K Street a short period in which to offer development proposals. The implicit message was if progress wasn't made, the city would, as a last-resort measure, begin efforts to take the land through eminent domain.

Two proposals emerged. Area property owners Moe Mohanna and John Lambath backed one plan. The other came from Zeiden Properties, headed by Joe Zeiden, president of the Gardena-based Z Gallerie home furnishings chain.

Mohanna warned that if the city went with the Zeiden plan, he would aggressively fight attempts by the city to buy the land. The City Council decided to go forward with both developers.

The teams did not want to merge and participate in a joint venture, so the city determined Zeiden would develop the 700 block, and Mohanna/Lambath the 800 block.
The city's land purchase quest will extend beyond K Street to include portions of L Street. A consultant concluded that neither block individually contained enough real estate to make the project profitable for developers, so additional nearby property would need to be purchased or swapped.

Zeiden's proposal would focus heavily on well-known retailers on the ground floor and a modest amount of housing on the upper levels. Besides his own Z Gallerie store, Zeiden has said he can attract such shops as Borders, Sur la Table and Urban Outfitters.

The Zeiden plan emphasizes preserving the streets' historical feel by keeping buildings to two and three stories.

Details of the Mohanna/Lambath plan for the 800 block of K Street are less clear. The team lost developer Evergreen Co. and residential builder Hank Fisher and brought on developer John Saca. Because the partnership changed, it hasn't undergone the same level of financial scrutiny that the city gave Zeiden.

Over the next months, the teams will fine-tune project specifics and produce better cost estimates, Fritzche said. The city also will do a financial analysis of the Mohanna/Lambath/Saca team.


Uneasy Rhetoric said...

You got in trouble with the Bee? That's so lame of them.

It's a shame the developers didn't decide to work together, but parallel developments aren't all bad, I suppose. I'm excited that that city is putting money down for these projects - though I do share your concerns that they won't be willing to invest more if necessary. If downtown revitalization is a priority, you can't do much better than revitalizing these specific blocks.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Yeah, they got mad when I put one of their graphics in my 701L Street post

I'm am going to be one pissed off person if we get another false start on K Street again. If it cant't get done during this urban boom we are seeing...when will it ever?