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.


towerdistrict said...

Looks pretty good, and MUCH bigger than i was expecting.

I'm hoping the east side isn't a windowless wall though. That side faces Music Circus, and would be highly visible. It would also provide a nice view for those inside the studios.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

That's a really good point about the east side. Windows should be included on that side as well, esp since this buidling will be taller than the Music Circus

Dreyfus and Blackford are the architects working on the project, but I can't seem to find anything online for this.

Anonymous said...

Ooooh... that looks a little weak.

I think that what sets apart this sort of cutting-edge urban architecture from reg'lar old suburban office park architecture is this: take the glass and taupe box you were gonna build, and ram a large polygonal shape into one of the corners, just to introduce some drama or "tension". (Thank you Mr. Gehry.)

Unfortunately, for an "arts" building, this is not terribly inspiring or challenging. For an insurance company, maybe. I'd rather see an arts building in something historic and permanent, like that old underused bank building across from the mall. Or really go nuts- bring in Gehry or Liebskind - lookit the crazy Denver art museum Liebskind just finished.

(rant complete.)

LivingInUrbanSac said...

When I first saw the building, it actually reminded me of a 4-story tilt up office building I drive everyday on Hwy 65 (where Rabobank located, if anyone knows where that is). Its not a bad looking building, but like you said, nothing great.

The city design commission had quite a few "recommendations", so we'll see if any changes are made

"I'd rather see an arts building in something historic and permanent, like that old underused bank building across from the mall."

I'm totally with you here. I'm big on seeing civic institutes in old historic buildings as well. I'd still love to see an art or culinary school in the old Kress Building on K Street.

Anonymous said...

I count 4 floors... are they counting the basement as a floor too?

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Yeah, thought it was 4 as well, but the staff report says 5 stories, 48K SF.

Studios on the ground, 2nd, and 3rd floors, office on the 3rd and 4th, and the 5th is mechanical.

Maybe that first floor that looks like one floor is really two, or maybe the mechanical on the 5th is setback a bit so we can't really see it from these angles.

wburg said...

While I'd like to see a public use for the D.O. Mills Bank building, a theater/arts building on this site would help to, perhaps, establish the neighborhood as an arts/theater district. I could very easily see a couple of the vacant garage buildings nearby being very easily (and inexpensively) converted to small theaters, with room on nearby vacant lots for new construction like this.

Combined with the number of restaurants already in the area, evening theater traffic could make this pretty nice. While naysayers might mention concerns about Mansion Flat's not-so-great reputation, compared to San Francisco's theater district, butted up against the Tenderloin, it's downright nice.

I'm a horrible judge of new buildings, but these renderings don't look particularly egregious to me.

towerdistrict said...

I don't know what $25 million buys you, and i can't really even guess - but this building's use is more about function that form. It isn't a theater or a museum. I'm sure the design budget doesn't warrant a "starchitect" like Libeskind of Gehry.

But I agree with something maybe more classical in design. Considering it will be a second home to the performers of the symphony, opera, and ballet.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

"...a theater/arts building on this site would help to, perhaps, establish the neighborhood as an arts/theater district"

In addition, I'd also like to see this happen on the eastern side of K Street with a mix of nightclubs and resturants. 10th and K is a nice start.

There are a lot of cool buildings between 9th and 12th that I'd love to see become theatre space....for large mainstream performances as well as smaller spaces for the multiple smaller independent performances around (e.g Captiol Stage, Beyond the Proscenium) that could use better, more visable space.

Though it would be much more $$$ to make that happen on K Street considering the existing use of the buildings as office space and value of the land.

Zwahlen Images said...

The glass on the first three floors is kinda cool, different shades?

I must say, when I first saw the renderings I thought it was an office building that would be built in Natomas or somewhere LOL :)

towerdistrict said...

After looking over the design review staff reccommendations, i can't say as i disagree with what they have to say. I think they're mostly logical and reasonable suggestions. What i did find a bit ironic though, is that the parking garage across the street shares many similar details, and as far as i know, was built by the city. Yet in the recommendations they suggest that they take cues from the surrounding neighborhood and try to match that feel.

Now i lived there for a few years, and know that neighborhood well. Trying to match the look of the neighborhood would be awefully tough when you have the governor's mansion sitting next to the clarion, next to the wells fargo pavilion, next to the parking garage, with a few victorians across the street, which sit next to apartments from the 70's or 80's.

That's a tall order.

towerdistrict said...

oh god... look at the PDF LIUS posted, on page 17. the eastern facade is a solid brick wall with zero windows. i don't know why it would be designed that way, as the brand new music circus / WF pavillion is not going anywhere for a looooong time. hundreds of people gather in the theaters plaza before shows too. i wonder what the plan is for that... more ivy?

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Oh man, I missed that the first time I looked through it. It looks like it might have that Marriott at 15th and L side look to it.

As you said, there are tons of people that gather in the plaza before, intermission and after shows (I know I do). Having something visually appealing to look at would sure be nice

Anonymous said...

I think the wall on the eastern side has something to do with building and fire codes. That was the case with the solid wall at the Marriott.


Central City said...

Sometimes the best look for a blank wall is a beautiful mural .

Thats what id like to see , perhaps something from the Crockers collection duplicated ?

LivingInUrbanSac said...

That's a REALLY good idea.

There is over one million set aside for art in the project, so there is money to be spent.

towerdistrict said...

brilliant idea, central city!!!

Anonymous said...

while the large arts groups raise millions of dollars for what looks like "another" office building, the smaller groups (read budgets under $100,000) still go begging. Is Sacramento committed to growing it's artistic community? While some say yes, NOTHING is being done for the smaller groups.

For many years now, I have been telling political and arts leaders that Sacramento needs more black box theatres with 49-75 seats. The Geery Theatre is booked out TWO years in advance! what does that tell you about the need.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

I was under the impression that the new theater at 10th and K, while primarily for the CMT cabaret and larger than what you mentioned (200 seats), would also set aside days for other art groups to that not the case?

Also, thanks for putting into prospective what a small group budget looks like, up until now I really had no idea. I usually don't attend many smaller productions, I'm accustom to the mainstream stuff (Music Circus, Broadway Series, ect), though I have been trying to expand myself lately.

When the city commissioned LMN and AMS for a theater study, there was a large demand for black box type venues.

While I like what is under construction at 10th and K, I would have still liked the 400 seat proscenium and 200 seat black box option more.

Also, doesn't the Wells Fargo Pavilion (Music Circus) have a small black box in addition to the main stage?

Link to the study:
Theater Study

I know these is a really broad question, but what type of building space would you need for 50-75 seats and appropriate equipment? What would a project like that cost? As I've said before, I'd love to see more space on the east end of K Street. Walking down there this past weekend, I saw a couple small buildings I thought would be great fits for a small studio. (costs aside)

What about R Street? I know 'The Studio Theater' operates on the block over from Fox and Goose. Del Paso Blvd?

We all know it all comes down to money and I'm sure easier said than done, and maybe has already been tried, but why not get together a group of these small organizations and put together a 2-5 year plan for what you would like to see. Approach the city and tell them what you want to do, tell them we are going to raise this amount from private donors and we would like a commitment from them for a certain amount if you are successful on your end.

wburg said...

One of those vacant garage buildings on 16th Street would be more than enough for a small theater in the 50-100 seat range.

I don't go to a lot of plays, but generally it tends to be of the smaller sort--my brother ran one in San Francisco for a while, and having a lot of friends who are theater people leads to spending time in small theaters like THE SPACE, California Stage, and Thistle Dew. Setup costs aren't really huge, the big expenses are lights and permits--beyond that all you need is lumber, black paint, and willingness to put in some sweat equity. For small theaters to pencil, they *NEED* old, underutilized buildings (or rich benefactors.) I once again wave around the Jane Jacobs chapter on old buildings...

LivingInUrbanSac said...

wburg - I'm picturing 16th steet (which I travel on everyday) and I can't think of any garages, unless you are referring to the services garages that are on the south part of 16th, or one of the tire stores still around.

From the places you mentioned, it sounds like there are spaces around...maybe you or Anonymous could give me some sort of idea what needs to be done to make those spaces viable...

On the theater sudject. I thought something like this would kick so much ass.

Living room Theaters

Portland, Oregon
"Six small screening rooms and a lounge fit seamlessly between the complex structure of this orignial 1921 warehouse and its additions from the 30's, 40's, 70's, and 90's. Inside the theaters are large home-style-theatre recliners, generously spaced and equipped to handle upscale concessions, beer, wine and spirits. Outside the theaters, much of the large timber and concrete structure is left exposed. Inside, natural light pours in through large windows and skylights."

wburg said...

Two come to mind: one is kitty-corner to the Memorial Auditorium at 16th and I. Used to be a muffler shop, there was an antique shop/junk store there until recently, it is listed for sale. The other is around G Street--either between F and G or G and H, I forget--on the left side of the street. It's a CBRE property, as I recall, and has been vacant for quite a while.

These are small brick "auto repair" type garages, not parking garages.

As far as what is needed to make them viable, the most important thing is that they can be purchased or leased cheaply. Build a few walls inside--one towards the back to create a backstage area, dressing rooms and storage, and another closer to the front to provide stage entrances and a concession stand in front. For such a small space you don't really need a sloped floor or theater seats, just a slightly elevated stage and ideally some semi-comfortable chairs (bargain-hunted rather than bought new.) The most challenging part might be upgrading electrical for lights, but if the building has decent electrical already that's not much problem.

Then grab a bunch of black paint and put a shingle out for some actors...

Bottom line: Adaptive reuse is cheap if you don't fix too much or get too fancy with it. Heavy-duty structural rebuilds are fine for high-return-per-square-foot uses, but they're suicide for cultural amenities more concerned with generating culture than bottom line profits. Take a look at THE SPACE: it's a bunch of aluminum-roofed warehouses, and it gets cold enough that the operators commonly hand out Army blankets to winter patrons, but they have a full calendar, frequently sold-out shows, and contribute greatly to Sacramento's artistic health--far more than their property tax increment or fans of brand-new buildings would give them credit for.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

I know those buildings. I thought you were referring to actual parking garages.

When I hear:
"The Geery Theater is booked out TWO years in advance!"

That makes me think that one of the only viable spaces for this sort and size of performance.

As I said, I don't see many small independent productions. It sounds like there are some venues out there (you mention THE SPACE, California Stage, and Thistle Dew), so I guess I'm trying to figure what the difference between those as they currently are and what you describe is needed or desired for a venue.

Or is it a case of just not enough of them?

I'd really like to hear from someone who attends these on a regular basis or someone who puts these on.

wburg said...

The Geery isn't particularly large, though--how many seats?

The Space and California Stage are booked months to a year in advance too, aside from occasional one-off nights. The economic role of small theaters is that you need a large number of small theaters in order to provide a talent pool for a small number of large theaters (small-theater actors/directors/staff move up the food chain to larger theaters.) If you don't have enough local talent, you either have to import actors from other cities (expensive, and it does little to foster local artistic scene) or get a reputation for second-rate acting because there aren't enough seasoned local actors.

The arts aren't immune from the laws of the market: supply and demand. Quality product increases demand, more quantity keeps prices down, which means an expanding market.

The flip side, of course, is lots of small venues and not enough large ones: the music scene has to deal with this all the time (note: an arena is not a solution--what is needed is more intermediate-sized all-ages venues along the lines of the Crest or Empire in size.) Large venues provide a destination for all those small-time actors before they get discovered and/or move to New York or Hollywood.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Empire is a perfect sized venue. Too bad the acoustics suck and they don't book a ton of acts. They bring some good stuff in, but not as much as I was expecting from that place. They are more into the club aspect of the venue, which makes more.

wburg said...

That's the sad irony of Empire: they're just the right size, but their acoustics are awful, they kick everyone out at 11:00, and they don't book enough live music.

The nice thing about small theaters is that they can often serve double duty as medium-sized, all-ages music venues.

Anonymous said...

Scattered Thoughts.

I don't think the Empire's acoustics are that bad in comparison to some places I have been too in Sacramento or other cities.

Question: Is the Calfornia Stage and the SPACE the same thing? Isn't The CA Stage the performance group and the SPACE is, well, the space they perform.

About 16th Street. Unfortunately, the two spaces wburg mentioned are not going to be cheap. It is hard to get any kind of deal in the Central City for a deal. Del Paso Blvd or the Oak Park Area might still have some decent properties for lower prices.

Also, many of the places that are small in downtown now would have difficulates being built under current building codes. I don't know how the SPACE is still open considering its conditions.

I agree that the City needs more venues of every size. Love to see more medium sized venues like the Empire open up that caters to live music not club hoppers.
The 10 and K site will be available for some shows after the caberet style shows end at 9:30 or 10:00. It will be great for some Jazz style bands, vocalists, or any other shows you can think performing late night.

wburg said...

Oh great, another jazz venue.

Personally, I think we are the most lacking in venues for contemporary music, not so much in the jazz/blues vein. If midtown can't find space for modern music, we'll get leapfrogged by other communities. Look at the number of touring mid-sized bands that end up at the Boardwalk (in Orangevale, of all godforsaken places) and no wonder people think we're a "cow-town"--one of the main spaces for touring bands is in a faux-Old West building in the foothills, almost 20 miles from downtown!

THE SPACE and California Stage are two separate spaces. THE SPACE is the larger theater with its entrance on R Street, California Stage is a smaller theater adjacent to it that is accessed via the courtyard of the complex. There are several other small art spaces within the same complex.

If the city of Sacramento insisted on every arts venue meeting up to all of the city codes, we might as well hang a giant sign on the Pioneer Bridge that reads, "ALL ARTISTS GET OUT OF SACRAMENTO! YOUR TYPE IS NOT WANTED HERE."

Daniel said...

Add to the list of spaces: The Artisan is on Del Paso. They have live music there sometimes too, and I know they are looking to have more shows.

There music venue problem is pretty serious in Sacto. I totally agree with comments about Empire and The Boardwalk. The Empire could be cool if it was run differently. Of course the City had to shut down Junta after only a few shows... With the lack of larger venues, Harlow's brings in some big bands from time to time... Placebo tonight, and The Fratelli's on Sunday.

As for the SftPA's east wall, a mural could be nice, but would feel like a cheap fix to me.

Anonymous said...

On another note, I was just at a meeting tonight with Millenium developers, and they showed us some concepts for the new building on Broadway at 19th.

Looks sweet. Also, they are very committed to transit-oriented-development (it's next to the light rail), green development (lots of cool uses of technology to maximize energy efficiency), and technology (this place is gonna be WIRED).

What's more, the Freeport Bakery is going to move in (see the Bee from Wednesday). It's gonna be great for them- much, much more space, and it's gonna almost be customized for her.

Millenium did not want the initial renderings released yet, so I don't have any to show. But he will have some more things in stone by early May. If you don't get them first, I'll send them along.

Millenium seems like a neat group of guys- local, very interested in Sac (but with experience from elsewhere), and really interested in doing something special with the new property. I'm psyched.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Yup, I saw that article. Anything that brings Freeport Bakery closer to where I live is okay in my book...

towerdistrict said...

Good to hear anonymous..

I live across the street from 1901 B'Way, and I can't wait for that to happen. I too have had the pleasure of meeting one of the guys with Millenium, and have the utmost confidence that they'll pull off something remarkable with that property. I'm def looking forward to seeing some renderings.

And although this is billed as transit oriented development, I just wish the city would consider continuing Freeport two-way conversion across Broadway to X or W Street. I think it would really help access to the retail there, and improve general traffic circulation.

sorry... off topic ;)

Anonymous said...

I like the one way streets... they work for every major city in the nation and we would have serious gridlock if we didn't.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - I see your point, except that they probably make the most sense in the densest of urban areas, where they are required to move heavy traffic through relatively few channels.

However, they are less necessary in Midtown and beyond. There is no need to move traffic quickly in front of the 19th Street Safeway. That is a (developing) neighborhood. And with all the incoming amenities (Fins, Tapestry,Daphne's,etc.), walkability should trump traffic.

19th & T said...

I disagree. Busy through fairs need traffic moved weather in midtown or downtown. In the end, removing one way streets will slow growth. If these streets were to change, future big project that are proposed for downtown or midtown would be more discouraged because the traffic studies concerning the project will be even worse than before. The new two way streets would be more congested than the former one way streets. This added congestion would then give ammunition to the anti-growth crowd so they can say that our central city can no longer experience more grow because many of the major roads are experiencing gridlock and are over used with the current traffic.

There are only 9 one way streets in the grid, removing any will later set up future project studies on traffic to look even worse than they currently are and in the end really discouraging growth. The NIMBY's who don't want growth downtown or midtown would really love that.

Anonymous said...

Well, I counter-disagree. Maybe it's because we differ on what is truly "downtown" or "midtown". If you look at what's happening on J street, for instance, you'll see that growth is occurring DESPITE the one way street, not because of them. The one Achille's heel of J Street in midtown is that it is difficult to cross. In a case like this, traffic flow (again) should be trumped by walkability.
The case is even better made at the 19th St Market. This is a burgeoning residential area. (Although Poverty Ridge has historically been residential).

Just ask those people on the other side of Broadway how they feel about the conversion. Multilane one way streets are good ways of getting people moved out of dense urban cores (skyscrapers and the like), but like freeways, they stifle residential and pedestrian development. Houses on one-way streets are devalued, yada-yada-yada.

19th & T said...

^ This is really TowerDistric right anonymous? The Yada-yada gave it away ;)

TowerDistrict said...

no, that's not me.. i always sign my name here. two-way conversions are a hot issue, and i'm definitely not the only one talking about it.

i'd like to clarify my point in the extension of the two way conversion was strictly near this project on 19th and broadway - not the entire span of 19th (or 16th or 21st for that matter). it makes sense to me because that's where the freeway on ramps are on W & X. I don't think it would reduce the amount of cars or really even calm it - in fact it may bring more cars. the thought would be to help circulate regular neighborhood traffic, while retaining the freeway access for those leaving town.

i don't have any interest in further congestion of the midtown traffic arteries. you can't shut off car traffic until you can offer something better. it was just a thought on how to better serve new business and residents while maintaining commuter access.

william said...

Well, in my view, one-way streets are a reflection on what kind of neighborhood you want: A place to go TO or a place to go THROUGH.

One-way streets are a result of traffic engineer's priorities to move as many cars as quickly as possible through any given space. This priority is inherently in conflict with a pedestrian focus. Speed is the key - on one-way streets, speeds increase. Two-way streets (as well as narrower streets)force speeds down. Pedestrians can get along with cars fine as long as you keep speeds down. Any neighborhood should make two-way streets a priority. Otherwise you become just another place to go through on the way to somewhere else.

BTW - The design for the studio is appears pretty uninspiring. Dreyfus and Blackford has been around an awfully long time. Maybe it's time for them to throw in the towel.