Thursday, May 31, 2007

Crocker Art Museum Expansion

Looks like the long anticipated Crocker Art Museum expansion is finally ready to proceed this year. Ground breaking is set for July 26th.

The project is will run about 71.6M, financed by a bunch of different sources

CA Prop 40 Grant: $2M
Sac County CAMA Grant: $2.5M
SHRA Downtown BOnd: $8M
SHRA Tax Incerment: $1M
CRCIP Loan: $12M
Crocker Art Museum Association (CAMA): $44.1M
Total: $71.6M

The new wing will be named the "Teel Family Pavilion"

Here is a cool rendering from Sactown Mag.


....and a couple others from the architects based out of NY, Gwathmey-Siegel.




Gwathmey-Siegel have quite a museums under their belt, including the Guggenheim.

This design is much more conventional than the Guggenheim design, not surprising though. I can see how some people in Sacramento would object to something a little too non-conventional given the historical nature of The Crocker and knowing how the preservation community can be on issues like that. The architect even mentioned in the Sactown Mag article how they had a rough go the first time before the design review from preservationists. There was no mention really of what those issues were though,so I don't know I would have sided with.

While I would have liked to have seen something maybe a little more daring, I think it's still a nice looking addition. Clean and straight forward. Most importantly though, once completed in spring 2010, The Crocker will have 100K more worth of exhibit space, cafe, store, meeting rooms and more.

There is a link to the city staff report for what looks like some last minutes details.
Crocker Art Museum Expansion and Renovation Project Staff Report

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Crest to become a Performing Arts Center?

I was listening to the K Street streetscape plan this last Tuesday on the city website when something caught my ear. One of the speakers was Jim Brennan, his company are the ones renovating the Atkins Building(?) at 10th and K (NE corner)into office condos and ground floor restaurant space. He said they have also acquired the Kress Building, 920, 924, 930 K Street (which are the 3 buildings on south-west most section of 10th and K) and the most intriguing, The Crest Theater.

He said they are looking to reposition The Crest into a performing arts center.

He's a Juilliard School graduate that has done projects in the Gaslamp, SOMA and says was one of the drivers behind the Louise Davies Symphony Hall in SF, along with work on the Opera House and Ballet Building.

We know The Crest shows a lot of films, speakers, music, comedy, festivals, some live theatre, and other events, but seeing The Crest as a performing arts center as well would be a pretty darn cool thing in my mind.

The main auditorium could be a nice mid-sized venue between the community center theatre, music circus, memorial auditorium, which are too big for most, and places like Thistle Dew or The Geery. An upgrade (I don't mean a major structural change for you preservationists) could maybe allow the main stage to be another midsized venue for more live theatre performances that seems to be really needed in this city.

The only thing I have to go on is what I heard from him speaking for 3 minutes, so there isn't much to go off of. There was no mention of the actual plans or ideas, but I would really like to find out what they are.

I'm very interested to see if they will still keep all the events that currently take place and will be able to make it work for another live performances as well. The other possibly I thought was maybe they were thinking of taking The Crest Cafe that is part of the building and turning it into a small theatre, that seems less likely though.

The only thing I was able to find was something off the Carrier Johnson website that lists "Crest Theater Mixed-Use Development | Sacramento, CA"

The Davies Hall was the work of 15 years of effort in a city with lots of corporate money and wealthy people, along with 5M (1980s money) from Louise Davies, 10M from the city, and other funds from companies and people. Any type of performing arts venue takes a long time to come to fruition in any city, let along a smaller one like Sacramento.

As I have mentioned before, philanthropy has been on the rise over the last few years, let's see if that pays off here.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Saca misses CalPERS buyout deadline

Not surprising given all the buzz recently. I have to imagine another option will be bought and they will keep working it, but a missed deadline is a missed deadline.

The only good news is, everything I have heard says Mohamed and the Saca's are good family friends, so Saca catches a big break there.

"but a real estate investor (Mohamed)who holds the loan for the land purchase said Friday that he has no plans to foreclose on the project."

Nassi and now Saca both keep missing deadlines, we'll see where this all ends up. Over the weekend I drove by the Aura site and they had demolished the remainder of the parking lot. Considering Nassi was just granted another extention, I can't think it's any kind of groundbreaking.


Saca misses CalPERS buyout deadline
Sacramento Business Journal - 2:06 PM PDT Friday, May 25, 2007

Developer John Saca will not meet Friday's deadline to buy out The California Public Employees' Retirement System's $25 million investment in the Towers on Capitol Mall project, Saca said on Friday.

Saca, the managing partner of the project, had worked out a deal last month to pay back CalPERS, which had pledged $100 million overall. The two partners have been at odds on how to proceed under cost overruns that are estimated between $70 and $100 million.

"We're still working on it," Saca said of dissolving the partnership with CalPERS and securing new financing. "We're not going to pull it off today."

CalPERS spokeswoman Pat Macht said there are no provisions to extend the buyout agreement beyond Friday.

"If he doesn't act on his option today and has another idea he wants to come back with, that will be considered," Macht said. Saca likely will have to pay more money for a new option if he pursues one, though Macht declined to discuss any possible terms.

In the meantime, Saca and CalPERS remain estranged partners.

The Towers on Capitol Mall is a 53-story, 800-unit condo development that broke ground last year. Work stopped before the foundation was poured.

Saca indicated earlier this year that the project is $35 million in debt, including a $22 million loan for the land purchase and a owed to contractors who have done site work.

The project has defaulted on that loan, but a real estate investor who holds the loan for the land purchase said Friday that he has no plans to foreclose on the project.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

East End Gateway Update

As you know, I am very big on the 16th Street, so I will try to always update people on anything going on along that street, no matter how big or small.

A couple months ago, CADA choose Ravel Rasmussen for site 3 and SKK for site 2 at 16th and O. With SKK wanting both sites or none, CADA has decided to give both sites to Ravel Rasmussen.

I was unable to attend the meeting, so if anyone has details I'd appreciate any info.

From the agenda on May 18th it looks like CADA and Ravel Rasmussen have entered into a Exclusive Right to Negotiate, but I don't know for how long, but lets hope it doesn't take as long as sites 1 and 4 have with Lambert Development.

From the original proposals, Ravel Rasmussen has proposed about 69 rentals and 13K in retail space.

I really wanted to see some ownership housing on these sites, so let's hope sites 1 and 4 have them. From what I have heard, Lambert Development is doing just that.

The last CADA meeting I attended a couple months ago extended the ERN for site 4 until September, for which they expect to have a DDA in place. Let's hope they are right, but given the slow progress until now, I'll believe it when I see it.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Tower Bridge Pedestrian/Bicycle Improvements Project

The project, which started in January, will take approximately 18 months to complete and will widen sidewalks from an existing 3 feet to 10 feet. The project will enhance pedestrian and bicycle safety, in addition to accommodating future development planned along both riverfronts.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission (SMAC) - Cultural Business Plan

We recently had a discussion around the arts and theater scene in Sacramento. Here is your chance to participate in the future.

Closed mouths don't get fed...take the survey.

The Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission (SMAC) is creating a new Cultural Business plan and wants to hear from you. As part of its year-long planning process SMAC is launching two internet surveys: one for the general public, and one for arts organizations and individual artists.

Take the general public arts & culture survey

Take the survey for arts organizations and individual artists

he surveys take only a few minutes to complete and will be used in helping develop the new Plan. To encourage you to take the surveys, SMAC has acquired some “thank you” prizes, including tickets to several of Sacramento’s premiere performing arts organizations. Everyone who completes the survey will be automatically entered in the drawing.

To learn more about SMAC’s business planning process: Click here

Thanks for your time.
Rhyena Halpern, Executive Director

- Notes from April 17 Business & Civic Leaders Roundtable notes

- Notes from April 17 Commission-Staff Retreat notes

- Notes from April 17 Multicultural Artists and Culturally Specific Arts Organizations Roundtable

-Notes from March 12, 2007 Commission-Staff External Environment Exercise

- Notes from March 12, 2007 Commission-Staff External Environment Exercise

- Notes from March 12, 2007 Cultural Arts Awards Grantee Town Hall Meeting

Saturday, May 12, 2007

10th and K Progress

A few months ago we heard that the old Woolworth Building would contain a cabaret theatre venue for the California Musical Theatre, along with a (Carnegie Deli style, yum!) restaurant and lounge by Paragary for phase I of the project by Taylor and the CIM Group. If you have walked by the site recently you can see the building boarded up (well more boarded up than it used to be) with interior demo taking place.

Phase two was going to be a 14-story 130 unit mixed use building on the remaining site, looks like that number has jumped up based on Bob Shallits latest column to 21 stories and 158 units.

CIM and David Taylor are hoping to have the DDA in place by December and thus acquire the 3 remaining parcels at 10th and K that the city has own for 10 years or so. Previous attempts at development over the years included a huge multiplex, a California News Station start up, an Old Navy, and most recently before this a CineArts Theatre.

This is a pretty darn solid team though. Taylor has completed a lot of buildings in downtown and CIM is a deep pocketed national developer with many projects under their belt, including 800J here in downtown. PLUS they have their own financing arm of their company that makes financing pretty easy for them.

The building across the street the rest of article mentions is also undergoing renovation. I've always found that building kinda interesting, but not really in a good way. It's an odd looking building with very few windows. Seems like that would be a draw back to some potential buyers, but then again being so close to the Capitol is a big advantage.

Pieces are slowly coming together on K Street. The addition of Ella's in the new Cathedral Building, along with these projects should add some foot traffic and synergy to the area. I still want to see another small theater somewhere on K Street though. There was also talk of KHTK locating on the 1100 or 1200 block. I'm sure Imax, Pyramid Brewery (GOOD beer, eh food), The Crest (old faithful), Ambrosia (good, but could be so much more), Chops (pretty good steaks) and others are counting the days down. I personally really want to see the marquee the new theatre will have. I love those things!

Now if the city can just get the 700 and 800 block out of the courts...


Bob Shallit: Condos join plan for 10th, K revival
By Bob Shallit - Bee Columnist

Developers working on a cabaret and restaurant complex at the corner of 10th and K have even bigger plans for three adjacent parcels: They want to build a 21-story condo tower there.

The developers -- David S. Taylor Interests and the CIM Group of Los Angeles -- have an exclusive right to negotiate with the city for the three parcels, on the south side of K Street between 10th and 11th.

If a just-launched environmental study finds no serious problems, Taylor and CIM hope to sign a development agreement and acquire the parcels in December, says Elle Warner, a VP with Taylor Interests.

Early plans, from architect WRNS Studio of San Francisco, call for a "green" building with 158 for-sale units, Warner says. Most would be about 900 square feet but larger penthouses would occupy the top two floors. No prices have yet been set.

Other downtown condo projects have run into financing problems. But Warner says her group is optimistic.

"There's never been a question about demand," she says. "It's really about putting it all together."

At some point, she adds in reference to the prospects of downtown housing taking off, "the stars will line up."

* * *

Taking off: Meanwhile, work has begun on the cabaret project at the southeast corner of 10th and K -- and at an office condo project on the key intersection's northeast corner.

Removal of hazardous materials began three weeks ago at the future cabaret site, formerly the Woolworth building. The hope, Warner says, is to begin construction this summer on a 200-seat venue for the California Musical Theatre along with a restaurant and lounge to be run by Randy Paragary.

Across the street, at 1001 K, interior demo work is nearly done and the Trancas Fund of St. Helena soon will be launching a building rehab and facelift. End result: Five stories of office condos above a first-floor restaurant, says Jerry Fournier, regional manager for project contractor J.B. Olsen.

City officials have tried for years to spark development at 10th & K. Amazingly, it's finally happening.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Streetcar Update

I love walking, but everyone in a while it's nice to get a lift.

Central City Opinion and I received an email asking us to spread the word about the upcoming city council meetings regarding the Streetcar Feasibility.

- City of West Sacramento Council Meeting: May 9th
- Presentation to RT and Yolo County Transportation District: May 14
- City of Sacramento Council Meeting: May 22

Central City has started a discussion on the subject and raises lot of good questions. Head over there now and give your impute.

This is a very important topic on the future of transportation within the central city and West Sacramento. As we see more and more development with the central city and West Sac, we need to have a more efficient way to get people from one place to another for sort trips without having them get in their cars. Light Rail is good for longer trips, but Streetcars similar to Portland Streetcars work great for shorter distances.

Central City Opinion Streetcar Discussion

">Link to Streetcar Feasibility Study