Thursday, February 22, 2007

New Proposals for East End Gateway Sites 2 and 3

Next Friday CADA is going to be recommending the new developer for the two East End Gateway sites at 16th and O. I don't know who they are recommending though, but I will attempt to make the meeting.

Late last year Loftworks pulled out of developing the two sites and CADA has been fast at work to bring in new people to build. There were 4 proposals submitted, all by local development firms which I am very happy about.

Lambert has dragged their feet on sites 1 and 4 for too long. If they are not willing to move forward, I would be glad to see one of the below developers take over those sites.

Here are the proposals: (sorry no renderings)
- New Faze Development -
- Site 2
36 Units
5,500 Retail
- Site 3 -
53 Units
5,200 Retail
Total: 89 Units (81 Market Rate Apartments and 8 for sale town homes), 10,700 sf Retail, 101 Parking

- Ravel Rasmussen Properties and Separovich / Domich Development -
- Site 2 -
24 Units
6,400 Retail
- Site 3 -
45 Units
7,200 Retail
Total: 69 Market Rate Apartments, 13,600 sf Retail (part of the the 13K retail wold be used for office space), 94 Parking

- St Anton Partners -
- Site 2 -
36 Units
2,700 Retail
- Site 3 -
50 Units
4,200 Retail
Total: 86 Housing Units (40% Affordable), 6,900 Retail, 118 Parking

- SKK Developments -
- Site 2 -
70 Units
7,300 Retail
- Site 3 -
96 Units
4,300 Retail
Total: 166 Market Rate Condos, 11,600 Retail, 265 Parking

The New Faze proposals looks very similar to the Loftworks proposals with a mix of apartments and for sale townhouses. Like the old Loftworks proposal, I really like the for-sale town homes. Strong up and coming company.

The Ravel Rasmussen Properties and Separovich / Domich Development proposal is the smallest of the four, besides that, the part that doesn't sit well with me without knowing more info is ground floor office space as part of the retail mix. Not big on that. Solid company though that has been around for a while.

The St Anton looks very interesting with the 40% affordable housing in the mix, but the retail square footage is pretty low. Experienced affordable housing developer.

SKK Developments looks solid. Good density and amount of retail. Since it's a dense proposal, my guess is it would be a taller building like L Street Lofts. Built similar projects in midtown already. Should have the ability to move quickly

Can't really decide which I like best until I get more info. I'm going to try and attend the CADA meeting next Friday to find out more.


wburg said...

When and where is this CADA meeting? I guess I'm not too surprised that only one of the projects features low-income housing. A wide variety of the usual suspects on the developer list, both up and coming folks and local leaders. I'm interested to see what is planned.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

March 2nd @ 8am. CADA offices at 14th and P street. Not sure when this item comes up though.

CADA is good about including affordable in their housing mix. They are mandated to keep at least 25% of all units affordable. So if there aren't any affordable in this project, that 25% will come from something else they help develop.

In recently prjects, the Fremont Mews is is 40% affordable. "20% of total project (24 units) at 50% of area median income and 20% of total project (24 units) at 60% of area median income"

11 of 69 units at the Fremont BUilding are affordable. 18 of 64 at Captiol Park Homes. Plus, Capitol Lofts is planned to have affordable as well.

Zwahlen Images said...

I'm also looking forward to the SKK plan. I wish I could break away from work to check it out on the 2nd, but Fridays a busy day.

Anonymous said...


As a suburbanite who's also lived in SF and DC and who's looking at midtown, I have to say that "affordable housing" scares me, especially as a potential long-term investor in a unit that I may live in for a number of years first. The market itself works just fine.

Too bad cities feel that they have to impose social engineering on developers. It's just another step or two to total rent control, which only serves (in the long run) to create properties with reduced incentive for investment, upkeep, and improvement.

Hopefully some or most of the cool projects going on around midtown and downtown are except from non-market rent or sales prices.

I know my perspective may not sit well with everyone, and that's fine... we don't all have to agree. And I'm happy to hear other perspectives.


LivingInUrbanSac said...

What do you mean we don't all have to agree??!!! Just kidding. All points of view are welcome, just not the troll ones. I appreciate the way you express your thoughts.

I think most of the projects you will see in the city will be market rate, or would contain only a small portion of affordable. The only time you really see affordable housing is when a subsidy is the mix, and there are pretty limited funds for that.

Is it the people in the affordable units or the philosophy of subsidizing housing that you are not a fan of?

Also, when you say 'affordable', you aren't referring to the SRO type housing that we see in DT right? There is a pretty big difference between the two. I live pretty close to the Frement Mews and see people come and going out of the building all the time, I wouldn't be able to tell you who is an affordable housing renter.

The affordable housing that we might see in this project would probably serve the like of people that work retail, bar and restuarant type young workers, artists and musicians (or at least that is the idea), that at least to me makes up a big part of what really makes a city interesting.

On the subsidy issues, at the risk of starting a political debate (which I can't stand), a buddy and I were actually talking about that a couple weeks ago. I'm usually a believer in free market and am generally not big on taxes on the federal level, but I am okay with it when it comes to my city, like a sales tax increase or some bond measures.

I know, it's hypocritical. For me, I guess it helps when I can actually see and know, for the most part, what the money is being used.

SacUrbnPlnr said...

Dear Anonymous:

Not to worry. Providing affordable housing and rent control are two related, by very different topics. I have been a resident of Sacramento for 26 years, and there has been no serious attempt to impose rent control in Sacramento to my knowledge. In fact, the City Council realizes that downtown and midtown Sacramento need market rate housing and middle- to upper-income residents to revitalize the central city area.

In addition, "afordable" housing is a broad concept applicable to a wide range of incomes and people. For example, a lower-income household (a household earning up to 80% of the Sacramento area median income) would be one earning roughly $37,000 per year for a single person to $53,000 per year for a family of four. A moderate-income household (a household earning up to 120% of median income) would be one earning roughly $55,000 per year for a single person to $79,000 per year for a family of four. These income levels are based on 2006 state and federal estimates of the median household income in the Sacramento region.

The City has a policy in new growth areas to promote affordable housing by requiring that new residential developments include a percentage of affordable units, but there are a number of methods to achieve this policy. Except in redevelopment project areas (which include parts of downtown, but not midtown), no mandatory affordable housing policy applies in the downtown or midtown areas of the City.

My partner and I have purchased a corner unit in the L Street Lofts building currently under construction in midtown. One of the things that attracts us to midtown is its diversity and electic character--both the buildings and the people. I hope that, as the central city area blooms, we can find a way to make room for people of all income levels to live, work, and play in downtown and midtown.

Good luck in your seach for a place in midtown. I hope you find your dream. Midtown Sacramento is definitely the best place to live in Sacramento for those who want an urban experience.


LivingInUrbanSac said...

Oh yeah, like SacUrnPlnr said. Best of luck with your search.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Selection has been moved back to the March meeting.

wburg said...

indeed, anonymous...many people connect "affordable housing" with "the projects," but that is not the case. Low-income housing in Sacramento, as SacUrbnPlnr points out, is people earning $37,000 a year or less: teachers, police officers, administrative assistants, social workers. "Very-low income" housing is about $24,000 a year or less: waitresses, fast-food/Starbucks type employees, retail workers. As LIUS points out, these are also generally the income demographics of students, artists, musicians, and generally the creative class. Without this income demographic, a city's cultural life gets squeezed out pretty quickly--most high-income executives and professionals do not form bands. And due to the expenses of construction, it is literally impossible to build housing for someone in these income brackets without subsidy of some sort: if they aren't subsidized, housing for these income brackets literally cannot be built.

The SRO hotels are considered "ultra-low-income" units, less than $18,000 a year (Social Security/SSI runs around $11,000 a year right now.) If there isn't sufficient ULI housing (that is, affordable to those on public assistance) then those people will be living on the street. So take your pick, when it comes to the bottom end of the housing market: public housing that you don't want in your neighborhood, or people sleeping on the street in your neighborhood. As sad as it is, there really isn't another alternative.

Anonymous said...


The comments about affordable housing and rent control, etc, have really added detail and texture to the discussion, which is great! I can see why there are desires to pursue such things, such as the issue about wanting housing for police, teachers, bar tenders, etc... productive and interesting people who add life to the city.

The biggest horror stories I've ever heard perhaps result from long-term rent control. If I buy a property and then can't increase rent more than 2% a year (this is an SF example), then I can't recoup the real value of that property over time, and I will be less inclined to keep it up nicely and do total overhaul projects every decade or two. I'm not some big land owner or apartment owner, but I can see the basic reality in this.

The other image that conjurs up fear is the 1970s public housing towers in places like Chicago. Not that we have anything like that in midtown Sac, but the idea of housing that's "too cheap" and unearned, which then collapses into multi-generational decay, crime, gang activity, etc. Not good. I think cities and planners have learned from those mistakes and are not marching down the same path. At least I hope so.

Maybe the central idea is not the cost of something, but whether or not it's earned and appreciated. A $500/month apt that's earned and appreciated is just as good for the city as a $2,000/month apt.

In general, I'm leary of government meddling in markets. I know cities have certain aims, and that's basically a social and political process that manifests itself in tax law, city planning, etc. I have to assume that we're growing smarter about what really works well versus what just seems good, but leads to long-term decline.


LivingInUrbanSac said...

Good comments Anonymous, and welcome to the discussions. Please keep coming back, better yet come up with a screen name so we know its you (encouraged for everyone)

wburg said...

I suppose I can envision worse "horror stories" than a building owner not being able to extract the maximum possible return on their investment, like, say, long-term homelessness for those whose homes are destroyed by redevelopment and those priced out of the market beyond their ability to pay. I have seen far, far too much of the basic reality of this. If you want a horror story, wait for the next big winter storm to pass through and spend a couple days sleeping under a tarp by the American River.

I'm leery of government too, but I am also leery of business. I suppose that makes me paranoid, but I have seen too much hinkiness from both types of power to trust either of them to any great extent.

Currently, and really for the past half-century, it has not been economically possible for private capital to produce housing accessible to those with the lowest levels of income. The "free-market" solution to this problem is that those who cannot afford housing must simply do without. They assume that, like an un-watered plant, those without means will simply wither and die, and that if welfare mothers were only introduced to the works of Adam Smith they would gladly drown their children in the sink rather than inconvenience the wealthy with requests for "unearned" welfare.

Whatever developer receives the parcel will also be the recipient of unearned government largesse: CADA certainly isn't going to charge any of these developers market-rate land prices for constructing these properties. Is unearned wealth somehow acceptable for those who already have wealth?

One more thing: if you assume that we don't have high-rise low-income projects in Sacramento, you would be wrong. Take a look at 23rd and K, 17th and Capitol, 6th and I (across from the jail) and you'll see high-rise low-income housing. Take a look at L and 26th Street or 17th and K and you'll see mid-rise low-income housing. It doesn't look like Cabrini Green, largely in part because not every city had as poorly-run public housing as Chicago.