Monday, April 10, 2006

The Pearl of California - R Street Corridor

For 20 years Sacramento city planners, historians, and preservationists have dreamed of Sacramento old industrial belt resurrecting itself much like the famed Pearl Distract in Portland. Like many other central city dreams, it has been slow to materialize...but like many of the other central city dreams has also recently started to come to life

R Street is heavily contaminated from decades of rail travel and the uses that most of the building were for back in the days. The clean up for most of these sites, esp when being redeveloped for residential, is unfortunately a LONG and $$$$ process. Plus lack of adequate sidewalks, sewers and other necessities which is more $$$

The R Street Corridor technically includes Q and S Street, where there has been some traction gained with Fremont Mews, Capitol Park Homes, 1500 Q Street, and a couple other small projects.

The Foundry Building which holds the Fox and Goose, Art Foundry, and the cool knitting shop my wife likes was one of the first to get a face lift. More recently the R Street Market and the renovation of the Perfection Bakery at 15th and R into the Icon, Empire, and La Raza Art Gallery.

In all, not too much progress in 20 years, but the outlook for the next couple of years does look MUCH more promising.

My hope is R Street can achieve a completely different setting than the rest of the central city, and Sacramento in general. I'd also like to see the entire street give way to people walking with cars playing second fiddle. The section between 16th and 19th be closed off to traffic for public space for the events I hit below.

While I am not a preservation crazy person, I do hope the R Street warehouse feel can be preserved while still creating a thriving environment that is unique to Sacramento, and not only become 'The Pearl of California'

There are a couple good spots to go on R Street, but we really need to fill in the gaps between 10th (Fox and Goose) and the 15th (Empire complex), fix up the 13th and 16th Street stations and clean up the streetscape so people feel comfortable walking down at night, or even during the day for that matter.

While there are many more opportunities out there for development, i.e. the parking lot across from Fox and Goose, here is a rundown of what we can expect in the next couple of years.

Capitol Lofts - AKA CADA Warehouse
R and 11th - 12th Street
-122 For-Sale Loft Units, Live/Work Units with Ground Floor Retail
7-8 years in the making, crews are now on site and have begun work on turning the old warehouse into R Streets first major housing venture.

1409 R Street
This is a newer one that is going through the city planning process.
-R Street Mixed Use, located at 1409 R Street (Next door to the Empire Complex)
Entitlements to change an existing nonconforming use and structure to a nonconforming mixed use project containing 12,245 square feet of ground floor retail space and six residential units with 13 parking spaces on 0.43± acres in the Residential Mixed Use R Street Corridor

Crystal Ice Building and Orchard Supply
16th - 18th and R Street
-Mark Freidman has purchased the Crystal Ice Buildings and Nguyen of the La Bou franchise has purchased the Orchard Supply Building. Unfortunately, due to what I am sure if very high contamination, I do not expect any housing to be built on these sites. Strictly retail and dinning.

Edit: I stand corrected, last update is that the site can hold about 141 housing units and 120K in retail and commerical space

I have very high hopes for that area around the Crystal Ice and Orchard Supply Building. I think that area will make an amazing public space with outdoor eating, street fairs, farmers markets, flea markets, and street performances. Given that Freidman is involved, I expect nothing but the best. The guys from Loftworks are putting some very good urban products out there.

West End Garage

North Side R Street between 8th and 9th
-As part of the West End Office project, the state will also be construction a parking garage on R Street between 8th and 9th. During the R Street meetings I attended, everyone fought very hard to have housing and retail wrap the structure. Without the housing and retail, you could have kissed that block of R Street away to a total dead spot. From what I have seen, it seems to be a sure thing that AT LEAST ground floor retail will be included, and a good chance some housing will also be in the mix

CalPERS and Regis Homes
R Street between 2nd and 7th Street
-CalPERS and Regis Homes have securred virtually every parcel on R Street between 2rd and 7th Street with plans of buildings hundreds of new homes. The first pahse is the 36 unit SoCap Lofts between 6th and 7th Street on the north side of R Street. The next phase should be SoCap Lofts II , 36 more units on the south side of the 6th / 7th Street block. I have also seen renderings for a 5 story apartment project on R and 5thish' Street that is a year or so away.

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