Monday, June 19, 2006

There is a new kid in town. Sactown Magazine

I found this article to be very interesting.

Young, educated and well experienced people moving back to Sacramento and using their entrepreneurial ambitious to do something exciting in our city.

Thank God they are looking to do something different from Sac Mag. That magazine has been a joke for years now.

From the looks of it, a lot of the content is around downtown and midtown, which naturally will make me an avid reader.

Right now you can get 6 issues for 50% off cover if you get in now. I gladly forked over my $12. I'm always down to help local start ups like this. I encourage anyone interested to please sign up.

Good luck!


Couple prepare for new magazine
By Bob ShallitPublished 12:01 am PDT Monday, June 19, 2006

Sacramento's crowded magazine market is about to get a new entry -- a city mag called "Sactown" that, its backers say, will be as "smart, sophisticated and sexy" as the region it's covering.

Behind the new venture are a couple of magazine veterans, Rob Turner and his wife, Elyssa Lee. Turner is a Sacramento native and UC Davis grad who worked in local publications, then moved to New York to write for Smart Money and Money magazines. Lee has worked at Money and currently is a contributing writer for InStyle magazine.

The couple began developing plans for their new pub after moving back to Sacramento two years ago.

The two "co-editors" envision a magazine that covers arts, politics, architecture, fashion, food, business and music -- with a "constructively critical" eye."

Sacramento has such amazing potential," says Turner. "All the pieces are in place for it to be a great city, even though we're not quite there yet."

What will set Sactown apart from other local glossy lifestyle and business publications? For one thing, Turner says, the magazine is aimed at a slightly younger readership, the 20- to 40-year-old crowd. And, he says, it'll be driven more by content and less by the dictates of investors or advertisers.

The 39-year-old entrepreneur says he and Lee will recruit top writers to bring a level of sophistication that competitors can't match. Some of the writers will be local. Others will be the couple's magazine colleagues in New York and other cities.

Where's the money behind the venture? Turner's being coy about financing right now. But, he says, "we're well-funded" -- sufficiently enough to lease the top two floors of the historic Elks building downtown. They started moving in last week and will begin working on the first issue, which will debut this fall. The plan is to issue Sactown bi-monthly the first year, then become a monthly. Until then, they've got a Web site up and running:

"We are doing this," Turner says. "It's not some pie-in-the-sky thing we're hoping to do."

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Docks Area Project

At the request of John over at Uneasy Rhetoric, here is some info on The Docks project on the Sacramento River.

The developers have been choose for this venture, KSWM Docks Partners, LLC, which includes Kenwood Investments. They are the same group of people that redid the Ferry Building in SF and are redeveloping Treasure Island as well.

There is some good info on the city economic development website for this project

The Docks Area Project

I can't imagine this is an easy one to get done. Considering it's on the river, I think there dozens of state and federal agencies that need to be worked through in order to get approvals and everything in order for it to happen.

Such is the norm in Sacramento anyway...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Map of Major Downtown Developments

Thanks to "E" for this great diagram of major developments that are on the drawing board for downtown.

Some of the smaller infill developments are not included on here, but you get the idea of how much is really be proposed right now.

Not including the Railyards, we are looking at over 3200 units, over 800 new hotel rooms, tens of thousands of retail square footage, and almost a million is new office space. How much will actually happen? Time will tell. From the looks of things though we should have a major population boom in the next few years.

Those number don't even include the numerous other projects under construction right now, like the East End Gateway, 800 J Lofts, and 1801 L Street. Or the others proposed like the 130 units by CIM at 10th and K, 21st and T Townhouses and 130 units at 16th and N for the East End Gateway site I

Btw...does anyone have any idea what the hell is going on with sites 1 and 4 of the East End Gateway? CADA is extending a FIFTH exclusive right to negotiate with Lambert Development tomorrow on those sites. Are they even serious about developing them anymore?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

And it only took a couple decades..

It finally looks like the city is VERY VERY close to getting redevelopment happening on the 700 block of K Street

This is such and important piece of the K Street puzzle. I am a little surprised at the price of getting this done, but honestly I don't care.

It's going to take money to get this done. Retailers are not going to pay a high rent to move onto K Street right now, bottom line. It was mentioned that the rate of return for Zeiden is very low, below 5% in some cases. He could do better with no risk putting the cash in a money market fund. Thank you for investing in Sacramento, Joe.

The timeline is the new retail should be open by Octoberish next year. Just in time for holiday shopping. How great is that going to be!

One piece of info I did enjoy hearing was that a good portion of the project will include stores that can't be found else where in Sacramento. Instead of the usual Borders or B&N, Cody's Books from Berkeley has been mentioned as one of the potential tenants. I'm really hoping for an Urban Outfitters as well.

Listening to Robbie Waters talk about K Street of the past and how forward he is looking to it getting back to the vibrancy on the 50s and 60s on K Street have me goose bumps.

From the plans, the entire south side 700 block (52K Square Feet) will be new retail, along with 731 on the north side and the kiosk that might become a sidewalk cafe. I think I heard that there will be about 12 new stores when completed.

The one thing I would have rather seen is the 35K in office space be housing, but after the long wait, I can live with it. Esp with Saca and team potential providing 600 units on the 800 block.

2007 Holiday Party on K Street Mall. Hurrah!

Related Story From Last Weeks Business Jouranl

City OKs subsidy for K Street revival
By Terri Hardy -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:01 am PDT Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo calls the 700 block of K Street the city's "ground zero" -- one of the area's most blighted streets and crucial to its revitalization.

In a step toward its renovation, the City Council unanimously granted a developer more than $15 million in land and cash Tuesday night to transform the area. Stores are expected to open in October 2007.

"This is a key project and a key block to get done," Fargo said. "This is the entry point of downtown."

Under the deal approved Tuesday, the city will grant a development team headed by Joe Zeiden a subsidy of $11.1 million in land and $4 million in cash. The Zeiden team will spend $17.6 million.

The project includes 52,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, 35,000 square feet of office space on the upper floors and a flagship, 10,000-square-foot Z Gallerie Store. Zeiden owns the Z Gallerie chain.

The Zeiden team has promised destination retail shops unique to the city, including Sur La Table, American Apparel and Lucky Brand Jeans.

"This has been three years in the making," Zeiden said. As part of its plan, the Zeiden team has pledged to improve the historic storefronts in keeping with federal rehabilitation standards.
Kay Knepprath, a local preservation activist, said she was pleased with the renderings for the project, including the use of a variety of facades. She called the street "one of the city's most important blocks."

Knepprath noted the plan did not call for housing, although the Zeiden team had said they would include some living space.

For more than two decades the 700 and 800 blocks of K Street have decayed. Last year, the city took a get-tough approach, giving property owners a tight deadline to produce viable development plans.

In the end, the council selected two developers for the task -- the Zeiden team for the 700 block and a team headed by developer John Saca for the 800 block.

The Saca portion envisions two 300-foot towers, with 600 units of housing and ground-floor retail. The project will take longer than the Zeiden project because it will require an environmental impact report.

Because the two groups did not want a joint venture, a city consultant concluded the major stumbling block would be land acquisition from a host of property owners. And to make the deal pencil out for both development teams, a city consultant said properties beyond K Street would need to come into play.

City financial assistance also will be necessary, officials said. In January, the city began talks to purchase eight parcels within the two blocks. To date, six have been purchased or are under contract. Eminent domain proceedings have been started on the 800 K St. property and negotiations are continuing for 704 K St.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Signed, Sealed and Soon to be Delivered....

Deutsche Bank fills in the 375M financing blank for Saca's Towers project. You Da' Man John!!

From people I know who bought units, they say that while there are only about 200 people who have signed so far, the majority of people are signing in the next couple of weeks. It makes sense, if I was putting down 50-60K in cash, I would wait until the last minute as well!!!

There are a couple comments in here that catch my eye.

"We almost think that some of us have been in Sacramento so long that we have trouble seeing what's in front of us."

So true...While he definitely wasn't the only person who thought it won't happen, at least he is willing to admit it. I know many in the commercial lending and real estate business that gave this zero chance.

While Sacramento is already a decently big city with a small town feel, too many people can't come to grips that Sacramento can be anything more than a small government town.

Sacramento is already a great place to live, but developing a more vibrant, sophisticated and cultured urban center benefits everyone. This type of living is not for everyone, but giving people this option makes Sacramento in general a more appealing city to live and work.

"John will be the fifth and sixth crane on the skyline that we'll see later this year, and the largest project under way on the West Coast."

1) 621
2) Aura
3 and 4) The Towers
5) Marriot?? Already Under Construction.
6) 500 CM??


High-rise in fast lane54-story condo, hotel project gets $375 million lift via loan
By Jon Ortiz -- Bee Staff Writer

Sacramento developer John Saca on Thursday signed a $375 million loan agreement that will allow him to start construction this month on the region's tallest building, a 54-story twin condominium and hotel project near the state Capitol.

Saca signed the deal -- likely the largest ever for a privately financed construction project in the region -- with Germany-based Deutsche Bank. It is the final piece of the financing puzzle that he needs for the Towers and will quiet naysayers who have criticized the 600-foot-high project as unrealistic.

"A lot of people didn't think that I'd get this done. They said that there isn't a market here," Saca said. "This proves that I was right. We're creating the market."

Officials at Deutsche Bank's New York office confirmed the firm signed the pact Thursday morning, but declined to talk specifically about the Towers project.

Many in the commercial real estate community derided the Towers as an overly ambitious $500 million dream, particularly for a city that has no high-rise condos, even after Saca landed the giant California Public Employees' Retirement System as a $100 million investor in April. Saca is using his own money for the balance of the project.

Al Gianini, who heads the local office of commercial broker CB Richard Ellis, admitted Thursday that he was among those early doubters.

"I was talking to someone in commercial real estate the other day about what's going on downtown," Gianini said when informed of Saca's deal with Deutsche Bank. "We almost think that some of us have been in Sacramento so long that we have trouble seeing what's in front of us."

Outside investors with high-rise development experience in other communities are coming into Sacramento, sending an objective signal that the market is ready for high-rise development, Gianini said.

"What's amazing about (the Towers) is that there was no intermediate step," Gianini said. "It's like going from zero to warp speed."

Sacramento officials greeted the Deutsche Bank news as a sign the city is maturing and praised Saca's vision.

"He's on the cutting edge, pioneering a product that has never been seen here before," said Sacramento development director Bill Thomas. "John will be the fifth and sixth crane on the skyline that we'll see later this year, and the largest project under way on the West Coast."

Over the past few years, other developers have caught high-rise fever. Danny Benvenuti has said he wants to build a 31-story condo-office tower at Seventh and L streets. Angelo G. Tsakopoulos has submitted plans for a 25-story granite and glass building topped by a two-story penthouse at 500 Capitol Mall.

Construction is under way on David Taylor's 25-story U.S. Bank Tower at Seventh Street and Capitol Mall.

Meanwhile, Denver developer Craig Nassi is taking non-refundable deposits for his 38-story Aura condo tower next door to the Taylor project. He recently secured $100 million in financing from Chicago-based Corus Bank and signed Tishman Construction Corp. of New York as the builder.

The ultimate test for Nassi, Saca and others is how many condo units they can sell. Units in the Towers and Aura go for around $600 per square foot.

By comparison, homes that sold this year for $500,000 or more in El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties fetched an average of $309 per square foot, according to DataQuick Information Systems, a research firm based in La Jolla.

Nassi said Thursday that he has taken non-refundable deposits on "the majority" of Aura's 265 units, selling for between $386,000 to $1.24 million. In April he told The Bee that three-quarters of the units were sold during a three-day grand opening.

"We still have units left and we're selling every day," Nassi said. "We're not holding back anything."

Saca said that "about 200" buyers have put down non-refundable deposits of 10 percent of the cost of the condos in the Towers, where units sell from the high $300,000s to $6 million. His sales staff continues to schedule daily appointments with prospective buyers.

"Things are moving along really well," Saca said. "This thing is going to happen."