Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sacramento Museum of Art, Science, and Human Perception

I stumbled onto this and thought I would put it out here for people to see.

Sacramento needs more big time museums and exploratoriums, and I think the old PG&E is a perfect location for one. Close to Old Sac and downtown, right on the river, next to the water intake and accompanying water feature, and right by new park area.

As I commented a while ago, I think old buildings like these make for great public and civic spaces. I really like the Riverfront Pavillion, cafe and store in the site plan. It also looks like part of the site will be reserved for a future project, possibly for a residential tower in the future, but will be used for parking in the meantime.

I remember that when the city was requesting proposals for the site a while ago, Mike Heller proposed turning the building into a museum that would hold the collection of the Wayne Thiebaud family, which I thought was a nice idea at the time, and still think something along those lines would be a great addition to the city.

I know Sacramento has many other smaller history places like The California History, Womens, Military, Wells Fargo, Discovery, Towe, Aviation and others I am sure I'm forgeting, but The Crocker and The Railroad Museum are places that I think are on another level from the other places mentioned, and I'd like to see more at this level.

The Crocker is about to go through a huge expansion that has taken a lot of years to fund and materialize. I have to imagine something like this would cost a ton of money and a lot of time to put together as well.

Philanthropy has been increasing at a brisk pace over the last few years in Sacramento, lets see how that trend possibly helps this.

The Sacramento Children's Museum seemed to have some momentum going a short time ago, but nothing new has come out recently other than apparent frustrations by the the organizers.


Sacramento Museum of Art, Science, and Human Perception (SMASHp)

Modeled on San Francisco’s highly respected and hugely popular Exploratorium. SMASHp will be a publicly-owned science museum located in the old PG&E Building on the Sacramento River. SMASHp may be inspired by the Explortorium but it's own exhibits will be modeled on science museums from around the world. And many of the exhibits will be created by visual and performing artists as well as scientists and educators thus creating an unique environment that will stimulate the senses and appeal to people who are not normally turn-on by science.

The former Pacific Gas and Electric Co. building, next to the new Jibboom Street Park, is currently vacant and the city is looking for someone to rehabilitate of the historic building for commercial and/or community use. We propose transforming it into a unique 21st-century science museum. The building’s Renaissance/Baroque ornamentation provides a museum-like quality and in some ways recalls the Palace of Fine Art Building in San Francisco which houses the Exploratorium.

The historic building made of reinforced concrete has a large open interior space that is ideal for a wide variety of scientific exhibits. Natural light will filter through skylights and windows to illuminate the interior during the day and the building will be dramatically lit at night.

The museum's entrance will be through the neo-classical portal on the west side (riverfront) of the PG&E building. The western orientation will increase activity along riverfront and as the Railyards Project Area is developed the wisdom of this orientation will be further reinforced.

A small but architecturally striking pavilion will be constructed northwest of the museum's entrance and will house the museum’s store and cafĂ© which will have outside terraced where visitors will be able to dine alfresco while overlooking the Sacramento River.

Several specially landscaped spaces throughout the site will include ‘smart art’ pieces.

The area north of the museum will be reserved for a future museum tower –a mix-use residential high-rise, however, until that time the site will be used for museum parking.

The Sacramento Museum of Art, Science and Human Perception is destined to be the one of Sacramento’s most popular tourist destinations- attracting many people to the area each year and energizing the existing Sacramento River Parkway trail that connects Old Sacramento to Discovery Park and helping to make the Sacramento Riverfront truly world-class.

How will SMASHp be financed?
Corporate Donors
Public Utility
City and County of Sacramento
University of California
State and Federal

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Studios for the Performing Arts

Studios for the Performing Arts
14th and H Street (Empty lot next door to the Music Circus)

5 Stories - 48,000 square feet of rehearsal, office, and classroom space for The Sacramento Ballet, Sacramento Opera, Sacramento Philharmoic Orchestra, and California Musical Theatre.

The project is ~25M, with 9M coming from the city (money from the CIP done last year), 5M loan, and 11M in donations.

Project is currently under going 11.5M fund raising efforts. Project is expected to be completed in 2 years. From what I understand the lease run out for the Ballet school in 2 years, so they need to have the space ready by then.

Here is how the major donor requests break out:
Lead Donor: $5M Requested: Naming Rights (They said this one is imminent)
Ballet School Naming Rights: $1.5 - 2M
Studio One Naming Rights: $1 - 1.5M
Studio Two Naming Rights: $1 - 1.5M
They have also raised 550K (at time of the last council report) in pledges from other donors.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Saca buys out CalPERS

I heard this was coming anytime now, but with so many rumors about the project it's hard to know what is true or not. I even heard that CalPERS only got the 25M back with no return, I have no way to verify if it is true or not though.

From the tone of the article is sounds like the new partner(s) are just around the corner. Saca seems to keep pushing back the obstacles on this project, even if it is taking longer that he hoped. The current obstacle would have to be getting those new contracts signed, 250 seems like a nice start, and getting the new equity partners signed.

From what I understand Joe Mohamed and Saca have known each other for years and land under default is not an issue. Given the timing of when Mohamed bought the note on the land right before it went into default, that sounds like a believable rumor..maybe we see him jump in as part of the new team of investors.

I am still concerned about more cost increases though. If it was 70M over budget a few months ago, it could be more by now. There was an article a little while ago about him locking in some prices, but I'm not sure if that is still the case.

This latest Bee article sounds like CalPERS will only get the 25M back I mentioned above. Not a done deal yet though.
"Saca has until May 25 to come up with about $25 million needed to reimburse CalPERS for the money it had spent on the project before construction stalled earlier this year."

Saca buys out CalPERS stake in Towers project

Sacramento Business Journal - 2:59 PM PDT Monday, April 16, 2007
by Michael Shaw

Developer John Saca has bought out California Public Employees' Retirement System's interest in the Towers on Capitol Mall skyscraper project, allowing him to retain ownership and search for other partners, Saca said Monday.

Terms were not disclosed.

The move may allow the project to move forward if additional financing can be found to cover increased construction costs and to replace CalPERS' $100 million contribution. Although CalPERS did not disclose its financial involvement to date, sources familiar with the project had previously said it had contributed $25 million before work stopped in January.

The two sides butted heads on how to proceed under overruns estimated at least $70 million. Saca said they had reached an "amicable settlement."

The split comes a year after the pension giant announced its intention to invest in the condo towers, with officials calling it "a good investment." Saca called the partnership "a perfect match" at the time.

The relationship soured, though, after it became apparent that the original budget of $500 million wouldn't be enough to build The Towers. Personnel changes at CalPERS may also have played a role -- a strong backer of the project, Mike McCook, left the role of senior real estate investment adviser.

The foundation has yet to be poured and The Towers already owes about $35 million in loans to contractors for work already done. Unpaid contractors have filed liens and lawsuits against the project.

Real estate investor Joe Mohamed purchased the $22 million loan from First Bank that the Towers partnership used to purchase the land on Capitol Mall.

Saca said Monday he is working with Mohamed to pay off the loan or extend it.

Saca said he hoped to be able to pay remaining debts within a few weeks.

"We are working hard to bring in another partner and hope to have a new deal announced within a week or so," Saca said in a news release.

Saca said more than 250 condo buyers have signed agreements that extend deadlines for completion of the project.

"CalPERS has been fair and reasonable coming to this settlement," Saca said. "Neither party foresaw the significant changes in circumstances that have affected this project."

"Over the last several months, I have been inspired and humbled by the hundreds of supportive phone calls and e-mails from citizens all over the Sacramento area," Saca wrote. "They believe in this project; our buyers believe in this project."

The Towers consists of two 53-story towers with 800 condo units and a 230-room InterContinental Hotel.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Midtown Rundown

Here's a few pictures from two of midtowns biggest construction projects.

Sutter Medical Center Expansion

Capitol view from 17th Street

L Street Lofts

L Street Lofts from the alley.

L Street Lofts on L Street.

Our City

Friday, April 06, 2007

831 L Street High-rise Alternatives

For about a year now this project has been slowly moving through the planning process and is still in the early proposal stages with the city. The corner of 9th and L Street is where this tower is being proposed and it still has not been determined weather it will be a residential tower or an office tower.

This is what the current design would be if the residential tower were built. The buildings height would be 150 ft with 173 units, 222 bedrooms, and 219 parking spaces. The 15 floor high-rise would have a total of 343,300 sf. with 6,500 sf of retail and 241,050 sf for residential. A dinning terrace would bump out onto L Street with 1090 sf for tables and chairs.

View from corner of 9th and L Street.

This is what the current design would be if the office tower were built. The buildings height would be 150 ft with 316 parking spaces. The 12 floor high-rise would have a total of 325,200 sf. with 6,500 sf of retail and 190,200 sf for offices. Just like the residential proposal, a dinning terrace would bump out onto L Street with 1090 sf for tables and chairs.

Corner or 9th & L Street.

The ground floor plans for the office and residential plans are very similar.

Overview of project site.