Thursday, January 25, 2007

Townhouses!! Townhouses!!

With all the talk of lofts, apartments, and condos in midtown and downtown there are still a good amount of people out there that while they would love to live in the grid, would like to have a more traditional home not in a building and not on a busy street. There are people that do want lofts and condos on a busy street for that bigger city feel, but a lot of people just want a nice urban neighborhood to call home and be able to walk to a few places of choice.

There are a few good projects (and one I don't like at all) out there that I think will fit the bill for some of these people. You don't hear much about them since they aren't the grandiose high rise projects, but they contribute to making the central city a little more urban and walkable one project at a time.

I have always been an advocate of balance and diverse choices when it comes to restaurants, nightlife and housing, these project help provide that along with the many loft and condo projects out there.

Density is important to urban areas, and as we see with these projects, can be achieved in many ways, not just with high rises.

Newton Booth
Developer: LJ Urban
27th and V Street
Architect: David Mogavero

The development will consist of 3 buildings, one along 27th Street that is 3 and 4 stories and one along V Street that is also 3 and 4 stories. The third building runs along the alley and is 3 stories. All of this on .51 acres which comes to about 63 DUA.

I really dig the idea of a 4 story townhouse. I really want to check out the floor plans when they become availbile. A small retail space would have been nice to see in the project, but within a 10 block radious you have many different dining and cultural options anyways.

There is already a discussion going on about this project on the previous thread, so go ahead and make your comments here.

No info on prices or construction timeline on this project.

The Brownstones /
Developer: Meridian Developement and Tony Giannoni
21st and T/U Street
Architect: Packowski Heinritz Associates ??

This project is taking a unfriendly, unused office building surround by a parking lot tearing it down and turning into 58 single family detached homes on 3.1 acres which comes in at about 19 DUA.

While not as dense as Newton Booth, it's much better than the 6 or 7 per acre you will find in the burbs. The reason probably being they are planning a grassy common area which I am sure takes up a portion of the land available, but if important to someone would be a big selling point.

They are supposed to be designed to resemble brownstones look you would find in Manhattan. Now the difference is the brownstones in NYC have that aged character to them that can't be replicated through new development. Never the less, I think they look sharp. (I'll add the rendering and website later today when I get it off my home computer)

The office building has been demolished and site work has begun on the land. Sizes run from 1000 square feet up to 2500 with prices from 400K to 800K.

Sutter Townhouses

Developer: Loftworks
26th/27th and N Street
Architect: Unknown

This project is part of the Sutter Health expansion plans in midtown. Loftsworks has already done a few projects in midtown including the East End Lofts at 16th and J, O1 Lofts next door at 16th and K, M.A.R.R.S proejct at 20th and K, and was part of the canceled (tear in my eye) East End Gateway project at 16th and O. The have done good work on their other projects, so I expect nothing less on this one as well.

28 units on what I think is less than an acre (someone correct me if I am wrong), which is as dense as the Newton Booth project.

No info on prices or construction timeline for this project.

Washington Park Village
17th and D
Developer: Signature Properites

These are located accross the street from the Salvation Army center. Not the greatest location in the word, but I think I read the Salvation Army is moving locations

I also think they are the worse looking ones by far. These could have been taken out of any suburb in Sacramento or other city for that matter and you won't tell the difference.

The sizes range from 1228 to 1468 and priced at 430K to 448K and are currently under construction

Only rendering I could find:


Anonymous said...

Who knows? maybe these projects will attract families. The nice greenspaces and detached nature of the townhouses should help sell them to that (much needed) demographic. Thanks for the update.

Anonymous said...

The Salvation Army thrift store is a block away, but the actual Sally is on the other side of the bridge. I'm the sort of person who likes having several thrift stores, New Roma Bakery, and a cheap Mexican restaurant within a couple of blocks, though. There are also some cool newer businesses a short walk away, like Sampino's on F and 16th.

I kind of like how these look: like the Brownstones, they're a fairly good match for the buildings already in the neighborhood without being an artificial copy. As I think I have mentioned elsewhere, they are also on top of downtown Sacramento's "other" railyard: the Sacramento Northern used the lots (both half-block areas) as a freight house and locomotive storage/service area from the early 1900s until 1971.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Duh, your right. I just lumped the two (Thrift store and actual Salvation Army) together.

"I'm the sort of person who likes having several thrift stores, New Roma Bakery, and a cheap Mexican restaurant within a couple of blocks, though."

I'm not a big thrift store guy, but I'm totally with you on the other stuff

Sampino's kicks ass. Sandwiches are really good, but they need bigger selction of meats and cheeses though. I can't wait until they add the wine room they are planning.

td said...

i'm really not big on the aesthetic of Washintong Park - but you can see who they're trying to attract there, with familiar and comfortable looking homes just steps away from the school.

i find it amazing how Signature has placed themselves in the forefront of almost every redevelopment area in sacramento. they will be building on the Setzer property, they're in the Docks, and Washington Square broke ground just before the Crystal Creamery land was sold for housing development. I always thought it was a rough location - but then the news broke and it seemed like they (Signature) knew all along.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Also forgot about North End Lofts which are 3 level homes as well on 14th and C

Surrounded by a lot of rundown buildings though

Anonymous said...

14th and C are not "Lofts" but rather three story narrow townhomes,

words do have meanings,

There are NO "Brownstones" being built in Sacramento, merely another corruption of language,

Craig Nassi is something of a con man,

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Real lofts and brownstones can't be replicated through new construction, but the naming of projects in terms of lofts and brownstones it's something that happens all over the country.

You have to take the name for what it's worth. They are apartments that have a more open floor plan, higher ceilings, exposed something or another that are usually associated with lofts.

As for North End Lofts, that's name of the project, I referred to them as 3-story houses already.

I've seen that website for Nassi before. The first time I saw it was about a year or so ago. The content and "Testimonials" haven't been added to or updated since then, so I'm not sure if it's someone with an axe to grind or something legit. I do know from freinds who live in Denver that he ruffeled a lot of feathers there.

Anonymous said...


I would not count on this project happening soon. I have source that said the developer is looking to sell the sight. He has too many projects and not enough cash for them so he needs to liquidate some assets and this would be one.

As for attracting families with these projects, two things stand out to me. First, we need better schools in area. Two, many of these units are two bedrooms and two baths. To attract people like myself, I would love to have an extra room. The size of the home doesn't need to be big but the number of rooms do matter.


LivingInUrbanSac said...

They are actually under construction right now after what seemed like a long long time of nothing. They have put most of the framing up on the units.

I know there is a phase II accross the street, so maybe that is the one he is looking to sell??

I'll try and head out next weekend and snap some pictures of them.

Anonymous said...

last I saw the Northend Lofts (they ain't lofts)foundations had been poured and framing was well along..and that was close to a month ago...

If you mean to state the "developer" is not exactly a "straight shooter"...then you are correct...

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why people get so peeved about semantics used in marketing urban homes. They can be named lofts, brownstones or huts and I frankly wouldn't care-speaking as a layperson of course;). As long as it suits my lifestyle and designed smartly in walkable neighborhood, I'm pretty much sold.

Anonymous said...

Why not call salmon, halibut, they're both fish, and I can tell the difference when they are presented? And if they are well cooked, whats the diff?

Anonymous said...

It's all about marketing. How many "Mobile Home Estates" or suburban tracts named after various flora and fauna out there, all to foster a sense of gentility and country living where none exists? Calling a condo apartment or close-set detatched dwelling a "loft" or "brownstone" is the same sort of marketing push, in order to attract the types who seek the urban lifestyle without all that messy renovation or drafty warehouse living.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Why not call salmon, halibut, they're both fish, and I can tell the difference when they are presented? And if they are well cooked, whats the diff?
or you can go to Mikuni's and have your fish covered in sauce and not tell the difference either...

800 J is marketed as "loft-style apartments" does that work for you?

Also, I stand corrected, the Loftworks homes are called Sutter Townhomes, not Brownstones. Though they have referred to them in articles as resembling brownstones found in brooklyn

Anonymous said...

On that Newton Booth project - I looked and LJUrban did have floorplans posted:

Anonymous said...

I am glad the North End Lofts are off and running. The information I had was told to me 3 or 4 months ago and have not visited the site recently. Maybe he changed coarse.

As far as the marketing. I agree, who cares what they are called or how they are described. Check them out and understand for yourself what the product is being built. The important thing is that infill development is occurring with different products to choose from.

It is hard to recreate the old warehouses that started the craze. There are a few projects that would fit the original "loft" definition. Capitol Lofts, Hale Lofts, and possibly Globe Mills.

- Zen

Anonymous said...

Yeah didn't know the N. End "lofts" had started construction. The information I had was 4 or 5 months ago. Maybe he found a buyer or changed his mind. In any case glad they are going forward.

As far as Lofts go. I agree that it shouldn't matter how they are marketed. A homebuyer will ultimately decide if the product fits there lifestyle whether its a loft townhome, loft style apartment, Loft style condo, or whatever. The point is there is choice and that infill is being built.

There are few projects where the orginal SoHo style Loft definition could be applied... Capitol Lofts, Hale Lofts, 14th and R, and Globe Mills. Of Sac's Lofts will have no squatters, the units are at standard living conditions, and there are no fire escapes.

- Zen

LivingInUrbanSac said...

The 14th and R project looks interesting. I was walking back home from R15 last Sunday after football and saw a guy walking into the building, so I figured I'd ask him what was going on.

I knew it was being renovated but didn't have any real details. He said they would be done in March/April (which means June/July)and would have a coffee and sandwich place on the ground floor. The lofts are for-sale units. I asked him about the wine bar that was planned, and it doesn't look like that is going to happen. damn!

I've always thought R Street could be an area in Sac that has a ton of nightlife within a couple blocks. A wine bar in that spot would have been nice with R15, Empire, and Fox and Goose already within a couple blocks. Old I and Elixer are right there as well.

The Hales Lofts pisses me off. Such a nice looking building and it still sits there with that stupid pissing match banner Petrovich has outside with W&F

Captiol Lofts SHOULD start finally this year, but they have been saying that for years now. That is a really cool project.

I really have to get out and get some pictures of R Street as well with weekend.

Dan said...

Does any have info on the Alchemy on R Street project? It is well under construction. I think it's condos, is that right? I'm hoping there will be some kind of cafe too.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Check out the brochure on this website. It has floor plans

The for sale units are on the smaller side, 851 to 1205, but they have 2 and 3 bedroom plans. Like Zen mentioned, if you aren't so much into the size and just want the extra bedroom, this could work for you.

Uneasy Rhetoric said...

Late to the game, but...I drove by the Washington Park Village location early on but haven't been by since they started construction. I have to admit I was seduced by the floor plans because they showed how you can get a decent living space in 1,500 square feet. As for the design -- can't tell much from that picture. I'm definitely in the "nice urban neighborhood" camp.

wburg said...

"decent living space in 1500 square feet" makes me wife and I live in a 950 square foot house that is technically a three-bedroom, recently moved up from a 731 square foot one-bedroom house that was bigger than most of the apartments we had inhabited prior to it.

A major barrier to suburbanites moving downtown is that they think they need these inefficiently designed 3000 square foot "starter castle" with quarter-acre backyards to fit a married couple and their two artifact children.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

I got a chance to really look at the floor plans for Newton Booth..

I think they are going to hit the market square in the face with this project. It seems like they did a lot of thinking and research to see what people want. I do think it really speaks to what a lot of people, esp families want in the central city. A reasonable amount of space with 3 bedrooms, like Uneasy said.

The 4 floor, 400 sf per floor mightbe a turn off for some families, it look my wife a little while to get used to it with a newborn, everything is totally fine now though.

With families that have kids that are a little older, I think the one bedroom on each floor could be a hit. What kid wouldn't want their bedroom on a seperate floor from everyone else?! Give the kid or teenager their space and freedom to maybe even create their own personal space with their own touch.

From the renderings, I like the way the units meet the street. A little softening with the landscaping, but not so much that is pushes the units too far back. The patio's will def be well received.

Not sure if the brick like material is brick or brick veneer, but I like how it contrast with the rest of the building.

td said...

i think the brick works well to tie into the newton booth building across the street. that's such a cool building - it's too bad it's not still a functional school. it's now the HQ of an enviormental planning firm called Jones & Stokes

td said...

i wanted to mention that in a previous thread, wburg had stated frustration with the Trammell Crow Alhambra & S project. I thought it had two or three story townhomes facing the S street side, but it was actually approved as 4 story condos...

there was an article in the bee on feb. 1st about the project, and it states that the original plans presented to the Newton Booth Association were in fact townhomes, then they switched it later in the process. that's kinda shady business there. i was wondering if they have any particular reason? the article seems to suggest that they modified it after receiving neighborhood input - but i highly doubt the neighborhood wanted to see those changes. just curious...

demo work starts in july.

Lance said...

Hey, just came across this site after doing a Google search for 'sacramento brownstones'. I live in Rocklin and plan to rent my house and move to midtown later this year. I've lived their before and also in SF and DC.

Looks like a lot is going on in midtown. I've had my eye for a while on Washington Park (16th & D) and L Street Lofts (19th & L, I think).

Three things that bother me about L Street Lofts are: they're expensive ($500/sq. ft.), only the penthouse units are actually loft-like with 2 levels, and the construction (or at least finish) quality of their brand new apt building across the street is not great, especially in indoor public spaces like lobbies, elevators, hallways, stairways, etc. It's a cool apt development, but I think they cut corners. Hopefully they are using different contractors and standards for the Lofts.

I drove around today and saw several other developments, such as the North End Lofts and the "brownstones" at or near 21st & U, I think.

Oh, I also drove over near Raley Field and saw some interesting lofts in the Triangle area - brand new designs that are kind of interesting - they are called Ironworks Lofts. They are perhaps the edgiest, most "big city" new construction lofts I've seen *for sale* in Sac so far.

I will admit that I share the pet peeve about the use of terms like "loft". Though it may not be the only defining feature, all the true lofts I've ever been in had an actual loft above the main living area, thus creating very high ceilings for part of the main living level (I'm talking 18-20 feet, not 9-10). I saw this with old buildings *and* new contruction in SF. I lament the fact that developments in Sac routinely call their designs "lofts", but then one finds that they only have normal-height or slighly higher ceilings throughout, which makes them something less than a loft in my book. Other commenters on here have narrowed the list for me, which is cool!

But it's still neat to see some interesting townhome and loft-ish/loft-light styles coming to Sac, and especially to midtown.

Does anyone here have any good or bad comments about the L Street Lofts and the Ironworks Lofts over by Raley Field?


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