Thursday, April 06, 2006

Down with the Parthenon!!!

MUCH MUCH better!

I really dig the blue glass, and I'm so glad they are still going to keep the rooftop restaurant. Plus, it looks like there is going to be about 15K is ground floor retail, which will help Capitol Mall keep a good street scene.

If all goes as planned, we can have 5 new high-rises (Counting the The Towers as 2) on Capitol Mall under construction by next year that will hopefully add over 650K is office space, over 120K in new retail and restaurant space, 200 hotel rooms, gym, day spa, and most important over 1100 new housing units to Capitol Mall that could equate to over 1500 new residence. Those numbers can't help but put a MAJOR spark plug into Sacramento's premier address strip.

Plan for Parthenon crumbles

High-rise office building proposed for Capitol Mall won't be capped by a tribute to Greece after all.
By Mary Lynne Vellinga -- Bee Staff Writer, April 6, 2006

Downtown Sacramento's skyline won't sprout a replica of the Parthenon after all.Developer Angelo G. Tsakopoulos last week submitted a revised application to the city for a high-rise office building at 500 Capitol Mall. It eliminates the Parthenon look-alike that Tsakopoulos and his father, George, previously had proposed to cap a 31-story tower.

The plan now is for a 25-story granite and glass building topped by a two-story penthouse with a soaring, triangular glass skylight.

When he announced his Parthenon plan last year, Tsakopoulos, nephew of Angelo K. Tsakopoulos, the region's largest developer, said it would honor his family's Greek forebears. Both his father and his uncle emigrated from Greece.

But the idea of replicating an ancient Athenian temple on top of an otherwise spare, modern office tower caused considerable consternation in Sacramento design circles. Tsakopoulos pulled the previous application while it was awaiting consideration by the city's Design Review and Preservation Board.

"We're happy," said Robert Chase, an architect who sits on the city's design review panel. "Since it's gone away, we'll let it lie in peace. It did not seem appropriate, and I don't think anyone in the design community was anxious to see it happen."

Gregory Thatch, a lawyer representing Tsakopoulos, said the developer did not change his design because of controversy over the Parthenon replica. It was, he said, a simple matter of economics. (Sure it didn't)

"The way the other building was designed, you didn't have the size of suites that really fit the market," Thatch said. "The other building design ended up with floor plates that were either too small or too big."

Chase said he welcomes the revision.

"From what I've seen briefly, it could be a very good addition and very appropriate to the Capitol Mall," he said of the new renderings.

Luis Sanchez, the city's design review director, agreed.

"It's a more conventional design for an office building that we think generally will fit in well," Sanchez said.

The building is designed by architect Edwin Kado, who also designed the ziggurat building in West Sacramento. Thatch said the two-story penthouse suite could potentially house a restaurant.

If approved by the city, 500 Capitol Mall could be built relatively quickly, said local commercial real estate brokers.

Unlike many other developers, including David Taylor, whose office building at 621 Capitol Mall is now under construction, Tsakopoulos has said the family doesn't need to line up tenants before it breaks ground.

The construction cost is pegged at $115 million.

"This is a family-driven project, and they will substantially finance it out of their own assets," Thatch said. "We are very hopeful we'll be through the entitlement process by sometime in the fall of this year. Construction would start shortly thereafter."

John Frisch, senior vice president of Cornish & Carey, said the office market downtown is relatively strong and can likely absorb another tower.

"There's a market for it, and it's a lot easier to lease something when it's under construction or when it's complete than when it's a set of plans," he said.

The profile of Capitol Mall, unchanged since the construction of the Wells Fargo tower in the early 1990s, is poised to undergo a major transformation.

The first new arrival will be Taylor's 621 Capitol Mall, slated for completion in spring of 2008. It replaces a parking lot once operated by the city of Sacramento.

Tsakopoulos' planned building at 500 Capitol Mall would replace the old Wells Fargo headquarters vacated when the bank moved to its new tower. It has been vacant for years.

Two high-rise residential projects also are planned for the Capitol Mall.

One of them, developer Craig Nassi's Aura condominium tower, faces a key test this weekend when Nassi seeks to convert buyers' refundable deposits into nonrefundable down payments.


Uneasy Rhetoric said...

Nice! Although the angle in that picture does make the building look like a giant stinger looming over the mall...

Still, if they get this moving on schedule (heh), Capital Mall will transform in record time. Lots of ground floor activity = lots of people walking around = no more grassy dead zone.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Lots of ground floor activity = lots of people walking around = no more grassy dead zone.

No doubt. Couple it with the Crocker expansion and Captiol Mall is going to be a great place to spend the day walking around shopping, eating, visiting the Crocker, and looking up at our new skyline. (Okay, maybe the last one is for me...heh)

Aura has a big test this weekend. They are going to be taking non-refundable deposits. Time to see if all this excitement is going to actually happen.

somebody else said...

I heard that Aura is 64% sold out after day two of their three day Grand Opening sales event. WOW this is great... our cities time is here and now. I'm going to be dropping in on the shindig today :)

LivingInUrbanSac said...

That's great news. Thanks for the info.
Please let us know how the event goes after you attend.

Anonymous said...

Was I the only person who actually liked the original Parthenon? I mean, it looked pretty good to me. It was unique and much different than any thing we (sacramento) have.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

A couple I know liked it cause of the height factor, but not too many liked the design of it

Imo, the Parthenon needed work, but I thought it was workable.

-Lighten up the dark glass and blend into the building more.
- Don't try so hard to make it Greek. A more subtle approcah would have worked better, imo.
-Don't put so much focus on on the top of the building.

To me, it almost seemed like they designed the building and at the last possible second said, let's put a replica of the Parthenon on top!, without taking into consideration how it would look with the rest of the building.

somebody else said...

Aura was a great experience. Everyone got the red carpet treatment and lots of great food and drinks to sample. My family and I actually had to wait to be called on before we could go in to tour the model which is put together nicely, but most of the design was too modern for my taste. There were people signing contracts and paying up the money anywhere there was a flat surface to write on…. absolutely nowhere to sit down or walk with out bumping into someone. Over all it was a fun experance :) I do hope the Towers get the same response when nonrefundable deposits are due.