Monday, January 29, 2007

Mixed Use Infill Coming to Broadway

A little while ago we talked about what could help Broadway with the departure of Tower Records and the topic of housing on Broadway came up.

This could be a big catalyst if successful. That lot has a big advantage being a block from lightrail and by some of my favorite places to eat on Broadway.

I hope the developer doesn't stick a Jamba Juice or Starbucks national chain type place on that cafe corner spot. Give us something unique. I want a duck hanging out the window, dim sum taking out, cha siu grubbin, dumpling soup drinking place.

The live work units are a really nice touch on the 19th street side. I'm curious to see what type of people would be interested in living and working there.

On the way, Avid Reader is looking to move into the old Tower Books location. The former Tower Records site seems to be a hot location, so I have to imagine something good will wind up there in the near future, though a national music retailer recntly pulled out, which I don't think is all that bad. A local would be much better in that spot. The buildings themselves don't look that great, so a spruce up of the buildings should be in order.

Broadway sways between two different identities to me... Could we see Broadway become a little more like Main Street in Flushing, NY? It already has a big headstart in that area. Will it become more like "Broadway" with another theater or performace venue entering the picture? A nice investment to the Tower Theatre by our good freinds as Redding would be nice..don't hold your breath though.

Or maybe a mix of both?

There are a lot of buildings that make a pedestrian friendly environment tough, the surface lots along Broadway provide opportunities to close some gaps though. This is a good start.


___________________________________________________________________

Bob Shallit: Broadway station to get new neighbors
By Bob Shallit - Bee Columnist

Sacramento's infill residential craze may soon be extending to the city's Tower District on Broadway.

A newly formed development company, Millennium Real Estate Services, has just acquired half a block at the northeast corner of 19th Street and Broadway and plans a $22 million, mixed-used project that would include five live-work condos and 64 apartment units, as well as retail and office space.

"We want this to be a model for transit-oriented development," says developer Marc Jasso, noting that the project is right across the street from the Broadway light-rail station.

The housing units will target people who want to take public transit to jobs downtown. Some retail services in the project also will be directed at commuters.

It's the first development project for Jasso, who in the past has consulted on retail projects outside of Sacramento. His goal is to form a real estate investment trust with the Broadway property as part of its portfolio.

Jasso and his partner, Larry Lipp, closed two weeks ago on the $3.4 million site purchase brokered by Rob Cole and Bill Newland of Grubb & Ellis Co.

The developers aim to submit plans to the city in the next several months, then begin a two-stage development process. The first will be construction of a four-story office building and retail shops on the northern portion of the site. The office building will be occupied by two tenants now in buildings on the south side of the Millennium parcel.

After the move-in, the tenants' old buildings will be demolished and work will begin on that portion of the project.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

The latest rumor poop is that Dimple Records plans to occupy the former Tower Records building...in my mind, if that happens it's a big win: a local bookseller AND a local record store taking up residence on hallowed Tower ground!

Sounds like a neat project, at least on first read. Considering a lot of Broadway's heritage, more Art Deco inspired design would be nice to see.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Excellent, if Dimple takes over, that is huge.

td said...

did you hear something wburg? a neighbor and friend of mine had a meeting with the developers and they did mention an art-deco inspired design. i think he had also mentioned a bit of japanese influence.

either way the group was described to me as having great architectural taste. i believe the building it's replacing is one of the loveable "buzz-boxes" as you've called them. they couldn't start to soon, as far as I'm concerned.

I'm looking forward to the city actually doing something about the street-scaping down Broadway. Let's see some sidewalk improvements and more trees. I'd also like to see it become a much more comfortable street to cross on foot.

Anonymous said...

Just an assumption I made, largely based on the idea that Broadway is one of the few bastions of Art Deco architecture in the city. I remember there being some sort of forgettable office building on the Broadway corner, one that very well could be a Buzz-box, while the other corner is a parking lot. I would be very curious to see the design. Broadway has pockets of walkability, but it was built largely in an automotive age: there was streetcar service along X Street, but Broadway was built as a vehicular thoroughfare taking the place of the old Y Street levee.

td said...

anonther neighbor of mine, and a long time resident, had told me it was a buzz oates building. we were actually talking about the building because the neighbors were all freaked out when the "tallest tower on the west coast" was proposed for 19th and broadway - which turned out to be 19th and broadway in oakland. hahaha

it would seem to me that Broadway would be ideal for streetcars today. i wonder how that idea is progressing? I don't mind that the street carries a lot of car traffic, as long as it balances the neighborhood feel with it. and i'm all for the broadway bridge connecting to west sac too.

Anonymous said...

Gather Broadway is that strip center street where the State really screwed Sacramento with that lovely DMV building...

Guess that building is not "artdeco"...

always been amazing that there are no "neighborhoods" bordering Landpark or Curtis Park, such as Broadway, as there are in most cities...in fact neighborhoods are few and far between in Sacramento except for J Street and that's bascially downtown...

Broadway is pretty far gone along the entire length and Sacramento has only so much energy, talent and money...you guys ought to focus on ONE area (given recent results) such as J and Capitol or the Railyards...otherwise you get the same old scattered result of bad urban planning that has plagued Sacramento

td said...

what are you talking about? did you drive through sacramento one day and decide all that?

Broadway runs through many neighborhoods including Land Park, Curtis Park and Oak Park. and what do you mean there are no neighborhoods bordering Land Park and Curtis Park? How about Southside, Richmond Grove, Poverty Ridge, Newton Booth, Upper Land Park, South Land Park, Oak Park? and then there's all sorts of less technically defined areas in between.

What good would focusing on one or two areas do for the benefit of an entire city? What sort of judge of "urban planning" would advocate the neglect of sacramento's most prominent and historic neighborhoods in favor of redeveloping two streets? i don't think you have an idea what you're talking about.

Anonymous said...

SF has Glen Park, West Portal, 24th in Noe Valley, Sacramento in Sac/Presidio/Pacific Heights, Clement Street...

Seattle has Greenlake, University Dist, Queen Anne, Fremont...

Portland has any number of neighborhoods with their accompanying streets with bookstores, bars, restaurants, women's apparel,...

Palo Alto has University

Milbrae, Hillsborough....all have their main neighborhood street perpendicular to the train and El Camino...

Jackson, Sonora, Sutter Creek, Placerville, Nevada City, Folsom... all have downtowns reminiscent of neighborhood centers in the larger towns...with bookstores, restaurants, bars, women clothing apparel...

I see J Street in Sacramento and I ain't seen anything else, but would appreciate guidance to these urban centers in neighborhoods similar to those listed above...

I've seen Broadway, I guess, and it looks like a disaster even with the McDonalds...and would take quite a bit of work and money to fix...

TheLoftGardener said...

That Sacramento as a whole is only beginning to realize the value of street corridors as a defining part of its neighborhoods is true. Somewhere along the line we got sidetracked, thinking that the main streets were pathways between neighborhoods.

Take another look around though. Certainly J Street works as a midtown-centric retail corridor, bolstered by the increasingly active K Street corridor (MARRS, True Love..). What about 18th Street near capital?

Take a look at:
The future of R Street
The Stockton Boulevard Partnership and their work near the UCD Med Center
The upcoming community planning on MLK in Oak Park, and the AF Evans project on MLK & Broadway
Broadway at 35th Street
Folsom Blvd. around 65th.

All of these locations have active efforts underway, and would take far longer than this post to describe. Midtown has definitely led the way, as evidenced by a host of interesting new large scale mixed-use living environment projects. The rest of the city is not all that far behind, we must only continue to actively participate in helping define what we recognize as a quality urban environment. (walkable/multi-modal, tasteful yet varied architecture, a mosaic of small semi-public spaces... your ideas here.)

wburg said...

Anonymoose here is part of the problem. People make assumptions about Sacramento based on neighborhoods they haven't seen and know nothing about. They also compare Sacramento locations to cities a fraction of Sacramento's size and expect to be able to make direct comparisons.

I don't think it would be possible for Sacramento to have just one main street. The currently incorporated city covers around 100 square miles. Broadway is placed on what used to be the southern boundary of town, on land that was until the 1920s a levee road. It was built as a commercial corridor to serve the expanding streetcar suburbs to the south more conveniently than downtown. The Caltrans building and the McDonald's are farther east down Broadway than the area that tends to get the most discussion, the area known as the "Tower District." That chunk from about 21st Street to Riverside includes quite a bit of potential, including some existing and viable businesses--some new, some old. There are restaurants varying from traditional American (like Trails and Pancake Circus) to Vietnamese (the vegetarian Asian restaurant) to a number of Chinese restaurants, an Indian restaurant, a recently opened Ethiopian place, a pizza parlor, Tower Cafe and Willie's Burgers, to name just a few. With light rail at Broadway and 19th there is potential for transit-oriented development, walkable accessibility from neighborhoods to the north and south ("neighborhoods" defined as places where people live, not retail corridors) all with Tower Theater as the cultural center. Broadway doesn't need huge amounts of construction and money to fix--it just needs, at most, a little more lighting and a little more nearby population. It's already a pretty neat place.

Anonymoose: Kindly take the time to LEARN THE TOWN before you decide what is best for it. If you don't know the territory, or even the terms, you have no right to make prescriptive judgments about it.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

If you are serious about wanting to find more stuff out about Sac, check out http://midtowngrid.com for a list of places you might like

The places mentioned are neighborhoods. When you say 'urban centers in neighborhoods', I get what you are saying. You want the commerical areas of these neighborhoods. The other comment wasn't very clear.

There are a lot of these areas outside of just J Street in midtown, east sac and the side streets off of J.

Sacramento is not place that comes out and hits you square in the face, you need to explore a little find its treasures. You can't just drive down J Street and think you have seen it all.

td said...

well what good is explanation if you've already made up your mind in what sort of mold a city should fit to be considered worthy of praise.

i live at the intersection in discussion here. I walk to the movies, the cafes, pizza, sushi, indian, ehtiopian, vietnamese, chinese, mexican, bars, markets, hardware, furniture, whatever - hop on light rail and cruise into downtown.

broadway is a little rough around the edges, but it doesn't really need "fixing". my neighbors are artists, architects, attorneys, engineers, welders, pipe-fitters, handymen and school teachers. I'd liken it a bit to san pablo avenue that runs through berkeley, albany, el cerrito, etc. but I certainly wouldn't trade it for the bay - especially at half the cost of living over there.

and yeah, sacramento is not a city that hits you suddenly. in fact you could drive right over a farmers market or an antique fare and not even know it was beneath you.

Anonymous said...

If one wants to turn Broadway into a true "street" then fine, at least that is an urban design idea, and with Curtis Park, Land Park on one side and the urban artists and kids in Midtown (who one would hope have not yet been driven out)and the transportation, it could actually work, and be a "scene" rather than the dismal affair it is now....

But it would take at least a decade or two, and the effort and money of citizens and the planners (don't count on them)...for the "street" scenes in West Coast Cites was created over the previous 50 years or more....

What HAS happened is that effort has been diluted with this and that scheme (such as R Street, which head of CADA at the time,Dangberg, a familiar name, sold to the State for funds to keep CADA with some reason for being)...and not focused...

Previously with the destruction of the Historic K Street downtown by Garret Eckbo of EDAW, another familiar name, it took the flamboyance of Richard Hasting to establish some urbanity of the street with Paragary and the Rubicon...whatever "street" scene has happened has been largely with thanks to those guys...

But don't count on the ossified Architects/Planners/Staff of the City or State to be of any help...they're still trying to sell the people of bill of goods regarding public financing of private buildings...

Broadway as a real Street is a good idea...

LivingInUrbanSac said...

As wburg said, it's pretty obvious you don't know much about Sacramento other than what you can research online and a quick pass through J Street which seemd to be enough for you to form an opinion on.

You said J Street is the only "neighborhood" you have seen, take up some of the peoples suggestions on here and take a look around, you might find something you like.

Check out mditown around 18th and Cap for blocks in every direction. Resturants, bars, wine bars/shops, salons, clothing stores, small markets, art galleries..all to be had within a few blocks.

Check out East Sac around Folsom, check out south of the capitol around Fremont Park. You would find many of the same things.

wburg said...

Most street scenes don't require any effort on the part of the city: in fact, some of the most successful "street" creation took place because of market forces, while the city was concerning itself with other things. The continued existence of midtown Sacramento as the most interesting part of town for the past few decades has largely been due to the fact that nobody in city government cared enough about it to go screw it up. While city planners who have never actually spent time in midtown wring their hands about a lack of big-box retail in the central city, a lively culture of bands, artists, retailers, bars, cafes and restaurants appeared because the rent was fairly cheap and there was a market niche. This created the existing midtown culture, one that many folks working in City Hall are still largely ignorant of. As a result, the new kids from Portland have nobody to tell them that Sacramento already has a regional identity, and they have set out to create one based on Portland (whose regional identity has recently been affected greatly by expatriates from Sacramento.)

It's obvious, Anonymoose, that you never go to Broadway and have no idea what is there--or perhaps you're just one of those throngs of suburbanites who consider a lively, active neighborhood or a street "hopeless" or "blighted" because you might occasionally see non-whites out on the street.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Also, why does it feel like people think that a street scene has to just be on a 'main street'?

Sure, I'd like to see a few of our 'main streets' more walkable and with a bigger street scene, but people seem to forget about the pockets of goddness in our existing neighborhoods as mentioned by people on here already.

"-or perhaps you're just one of those throngs of suburbanites who consider a lively, active neighborhood or a street "hopeless" or "blighted" because you might occasionally see non-whites out on the street."

I usually feel the same way when people complain about homeless people.

Anonymous said...

First off, to defend planners (I know number of them) many of the planners who work for the city have or do live in midtown. Many others live in the nearby (former) streetcar suburbs. Others actually take part in the many opprotunities of midtown. And all wouldl like to see walkable, active urban streets. And as far as I know planners don't neccessarily want Please be careful when generalizing.

I agree that midtown has been the creation of market forces. Remember that 15 years ago Midtown was nothing like it is now. Many of the small urban nodes that exist in midtown were only created in the last 5 to 10 years. Right now I think the area is trying to fill in the gaps and connect many of these areas. In my opinion its actually the best scenario for the city or planners....an area where they don't have to focus much funding to help development.

As for Broadway. It does have its own identity (love all the ethnic food offerings) although I think its potential has not even been tapped. Wburg had it right. Broadway's development happened late because it was a southern flood levy and a commercial strip. Many of the current uses were developed as the automobile became prevelant. I think from and urban design perspective it needs some fixes to make it more pedestrian friendly. Wider sidewalks and projects like the one that started this discussion. More buildings that front street. Parking in the back. However not the twisted design like the building at Riverside and Broadway.

To MR. Anonymous. Couple things. First please try and type complete and understandable sentences. Second, CADA would have reason to exist regardless of its expansion to one portion of R Street. The R Street Master Plan actually states that CADA should extend its boundaries to help develop the area which it did. The City also asked CADA to do this earlier in the decade. Since CADA has been more involved on R Street, the City has actually put more resources into upgrading the public infrastructure in the area to help development in the area. (Again you have no idea what you are talking about.) Last, please don't compare Sacramento to other cities. Many factors have led to Sac. being a little behind the develoment curve. Like Wburg said the City is close to 100 square miles. I think the City HAS concentrated on one area more than others, that being the Central Business District, including the Railyards, and the Docs. Granted there are still other project areas but the focus of Council has been downtown for the last two years. That shift happened when Bob Thomas left as City Manager and Ray K. was hired and later was hired to replace Mr. Thomas.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Well said..

"Right now I think the area is trying to fill in the gaps and connect many of these areas. In my opinion its actually the best scenario for the city or planners"

I totally agree with this statement. I'm a big beliver in "connecting the dots", be it on a main street or around our currect urban nooks in midtown.

If we keep building (infill) around the smaller nodes we currently have, like around 18th and Capital, they will expand to bigger nodes.

We have a lot of oppurtunies for big main streets, but those will take a little more time (K Street, 16th Street, R Street, J Street in the CBD).

16th Street had a setback when Loftworks pulled out of 16th and O, but I have very big expectations for that street.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

" More buildings that front street. Parking in the back.

That's such a pet peeve of mine. That simple change makes a complete diffence at the street level.

Even though I was not happy with the F65 project, at least they got that part right for the most part.

td said...

well this latest development at 19th & B'Way would seem to be along the lines of everything a city planner would want to see. mixed-use, live-work units, apartments, retail, street-facing, hidden parking lots... all replacing a nameless, faceless box leased up by another state agency.

as pointed out in another thread on this site, there are plenty of other opportunities to fill in gaps of Broadway, without even touching the businesses already there. Though i still dont know what to make of Dimple and the Avid Reader filling the most prominent gaps. It feels like a temporary solution for some reason.

td said...

i don't think it's been posted yet - but here is the website for Millenium Real Estate, who will be developing the 19th Street site. There are larger drawings of the individual floors and their use.

I also noticed that as of yesterday, the old broker's for lease signs have been replaced by Millenium's.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

I like Avid Reader and Dimple being there. I could see myself making a nice weekend afternoon or evening going to lunch/dinner, buying some books or music, watching a movie at The Tower (though I still despise Redding), than maybe grabbing some dessert at Tower Cafe.

I do agree it's a prominent location, but having two local business there for the foreseeable future is a nice touch with the departure of Tower, even if that corner becomes soemthing else down the road, as you said.

Anonymous said...

LIUS, Glad you agree. I think the part of the reason many projects don't front the street is the lack of On-Street parking. The other things relate to how we design and plan our streets grids now a days but thats another subject for another day.

So many things happen when a car can park on the street. 1)It provides a barrier between pedestrians and moving vehicles. By creating this barrier it makes the pedestrian feel safer. Safer means more people walking and creating an urban energy 2) Retailers prefer to have parking directly in front of their entrance. That was the problem with F-65. No street parking. I am sure not one of those retailers wanted to sign a lease where patrons had to walk around the facility to get inside. Also, they didn't want to have two points of entry into there business. Its harder to convince retail businesses to lease space like we see at 19th and J. Retailers are part of the problem when it comes to design. 3)It slows the speed of traffic. This creates safer conditions for pedestrians to cross a street in order to enjoy other services and buisnesses. Drivers must keep an eye on so many things when a car is parked on the street from peds crossing to cars backing out of parking space.

I hope things come together for Broadway. Something should go into those buildings sooner than later or else the area takes a step backwards.

Zen

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Taking away a lane and adding angled parking is one item I would like to see be brought to 16th Street. When projects like the East End Gatway, Unity Center, and Crystal Ice get off the ground, I think it will help the area a lot.

Not sure how possible it is though considering that is a major way in and out of downtown.

Kim said...

I lived on Broadway for almost 30 years, in a row of storefronts that other artists and myself made the first legal artists live/work in Sacramento in 1992. Although "rough" there has always been great eats, odd ball stores and Miller park at the end. Its not a great walking street AT ALL. even biking can kill your ass in the blink of an eye, but there are many nice neighborhood streets one or two blocks over for a leisurely fat tire cruse down tree lined streets on the way to Tower, the river or Pho Bok. Its very very diverse, and when crime is not involved.... in a good way, I love Broadway. Something I have loved about Broadway that just about everyone else seems to hate is the car culture there. I have enjoyed driving my big old 66 Lincoln Continental up the crammed streets on an illegal sunday cruising night.... why doesn't someone collect $5 each, make everyone promise not to fight and enjoy the culture?
That being said, I just moved to another rough and lovely main street in Sac, with some great eats, gritty bars, breakfast joints, music venues, coffee shops and art galleries.... Del Paso. And the storefronts are right on the sidewalk, with a few cafe tables showing up on the walk... diagonal parking going in now.... I walk it... there is even trees and 2 million in public art going in the middle of this year.... NO time to be afraid of a little grit, you find some real Sacramento there if you look close enough....