Friday, June 15, 2007

Saca Round 2 - The Metropolitan

I guess he must have gotten out The Towers with his skin still attached. That was quicker than expected, The Metropolitan goes before Design Review and Planning Commission this month for comment and review.

I think it was a couple years ago, Saca and his father bought the corner of 10th and J and proposed The Metropolitan. This one would obviously cost much less to build, and I imagine units would cost less as well. Since my guess is him and this father will be building it, there might not need to be any need for a equity partner since I'm sure the family is very well off and could front the equity required. Given the last relationship with CalPERS, that might be the only way right now.

I really admire his balls and tenacity. He's going to be catching so much shit from the media and people who wanted him to fail in The Towers so badly. He will never live it down until he can get one completed, even then probably not.

I'm sure he learned quite a bit (though some would say he DIDN'T learn) in his his failed attempt at The Towers, so hopefully he can use that to his advantage here. I'm sure there are some people who put deposits down at The Towers that would not buy here, but I think he still has some loyal buyers among that group. Since there are much fewer units (esp if they do the hotel option), it could be easier to sell the required amount.

That block of J Street is one ugliest in downtown as well. With 800j opening and the retail going in soon, JDV on the way, the new lounge, and a couple eateries like Sukura and Kabul Kabob already in the area, the project would add a lot of synergy to the area.

While this building is much smaller than The Towers, its still a large project. If he is really going to move forward on this, he needs to find a way to make it happen, even if it means downsizing the project if necessary. The record for number of holes in DT is not a record I'm sure he wants to have.

Saca eyes new heights after selling Towers stake
City committee to look at 39-story condominium project next week
Sacramento Business Journal - June 15, 2007
by Michael Shaw

Developer John Saca says he's still in the high-rise business.

While a little bruised from the unsuccessful effort to save The Towers on Capitol Mall, Saca is forging ahead with another downtown Sacramento project -- a 39-story condo tower at 10th and J streets.

The Metropolitan, which if built at its projected 420 feet, would be taller than any building in the capital today, is on the agenda of the city of Sacramento's Design Commission for Wednesday.

This week, Saca sold his interest in The Towers to his equity partner, the California Public Employees' Retirement System, ending what became a futile attempt to save the project by landing more financing and buying out CalPERS.

The pension fund and its development partner, CIM Group Inc., haven't decided what they will build on the property, but it won't be the twin 53-story luxury condominium towers that Saca started building before cost overruns halted construction in January.

"(CIM) has been very clear to us they're interested in a spectacular project that's mixed-use," assistant city manager John Dangberg said.

In an interview this week, Saca sounded a little disheartened about the fate of his pet project, but said he expects to find success the second time around. He blamed the plunging real estate market for The Towers' failure, deflecting claims that he overreached or lacked enough experience. The Towers was Saca's first foray into high-rise construction and would have dominated the capital's skyline.

"Lenders started tightening up. It became evident that this was really the only solution," he said of selling his interest in The Towers project to CalPERS. "We couldn't find another partner."

He noted that buyers put down deposits on almost 400 condos at The Towers, with a value of more than $270 million, showing a strong interest in the concept. The deposits are being refunded.

While The Towers struggled, Saca didn't abandon plans for The Metropolitan.

"He's moving forward quite aggressively with that project," Dangberg said. He said the experience with The Towers hasn't diminished Saca's standing in the city's eyes.

The 320-condo project is smaller in scale and far less expensive than the $500 million-plus for The Towers.

Bruce Slaton, a real estate agent who specializes in Sacramento's condo market, said it makes sense for Saca to explore another high-rise, because there seems to be a demand for downtown luxury living. But with no benchmark high-rise for comparison, all the support and demand are meaningless if the projects aren't financially viable, Slaton said.

With The Towers dead, and with it Saca's proposal for an InterContinental Hotel supported by an $11 million city subsidy, Saca said he's exploring the idea of putting a hotel in The Metropolitan. He has not approached the city for a subsidy and hasn't shared his funding sources for the building other than to tell city officials he has the resources lined up to build it, assistant city manager Mary Hanneman said.

Saca declined to say how much he was paid to depart as the managing partner in The Towers partnership.

"I'll be OK," Saca said of the impact from his personal stake in the project, both financially and in reputation. "Obviously, I lost thousands of hours of time and a lot of money."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Possible Retail tenants for the Crystal Ice?

Taking a look the Retail West website for the Crystal Ice buildings on R Street between 16th and 19th, they have a listing of some business that look like may be part of the project.

Banana Republic, Market Hall, Barnes and Noble, American Appeal, Aveda, Anthropologies and Green Sacramento. A couple seem to be small business from other cities like Manzana and Market Hall. Green Sacramento is obviously local.

Originally where Green Sacramento is was going to be a La Bou Bakery, but maybe things have changed.



If these are actually tenants, that is a pretty impressive list of retailers Freidman was able to sign, or at least mayebe have a letter of intent to open.

Taken from "wburg" on another website on the reuse of the building and street:
"SOCA hosted a history tour of R Street last month that included a walk inside the Crystal Ice plant led by Mark Friedman. I thought it went pretty well, and the tour through the plant was really fun. He has some great ideas about adaptive reuse of the current structure--about two-thirds of the existing structure would remain, with modifications, although the eastern portion of the building is probably not stable enough to be preserved. I'm hoping for as much preservation of the interesting urban grit along that street as possible--especially the in-street track and the loading docks."

Saca bought out of The Towers Project

I was really rooting for Saca to pull a rabbit out his hat on this, but that will no longer be the case. I admire his entrepreneurial guts to try something like that, and really was pretty close to pulling it off.

The housing market, the change at CalPERS, construction costs, and inexperience was too much to overcome for this project. I just hope he got a decent deal from CalPERS on his way out.

I've always said make the first floor the best floor, but I really would have loved to see those buildings in the skyline.

CIM and CalPERS have been working together for a while now, so I assume this partnership will be a little smoother. Looks like the time frame is around 18 months to put something new together for the site.

We all know the new plan will not be nearly as grandiose as what Saca planned. An article a short time ago mentioned how office space would be in the mix, but I hope that housing the hotel and quality retail space will be in the plans as well.

CalPERS and CIM will build for max profit, and not the so much the impact, but with the site at the foot of Capitol Mall and The Tower Bridge, let's hope they come up with something good.


CalPERS buys Saca out of Towers
Sacramento Business Journal - 10:45 AM PDT Tuesday, June 12, 2007
by Michael Shaw

The California Public Employees' Retirement System has acquired the Towers on Capitol Mall project, the pension fund announced Tuesday. It has reached an agreement with its former partner, developer John Saca, to buy his interest in the project.

Saca notified the pension fund that he did not intend to exercise an option to purchase CalPERS interest in the stalled Towers project.

Just what will be built at the site isn't clear.

CalPERS is partnering with its national development partner, CIM Group of Los Angeles, to develop the site and a plan will be developed over the next 18 months.

CIM will first work to resolve outstanding debt, CalPERS spokesman Brad Pacheco said.

Press Release from CalPERS


SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) today announced it has reached agreement with local developer John Saca to acquire his interest in the Towers on Capitol Mall, LLC (Towers LLC). This action follows Saca’s notification that he will not exercise his option to acquire CalPERS interest in Towers LLC. “After careful analysis, we decided that our beneficiaries’ best interest is served by acquiring the site and designating our national development partner CIM Group of Los Angeles to serve as lead developer,” said Ted Eliopoulos, CalPERS Senior Investment Officer for Real Estate. “This is a particularly well-located site that can be transformed into a successful development. We are pleased that our long standing partner, CIM Group has agreed to lead our future effort.”

“As the first order of business, CIM will resolve issues with outstanding creditors and complete the first phase of site preparation and then, over the next 18 months, focus on creating a viable development program for this important site.”

“I want to take this opportunity to recognize John Saca’s great entrepreneurial spirit and complete dedication to this project on behalf of CalPERS. While the project experienced unfavorable economic and market conditions, John was a committed partner who explored every avenue to get this project built,” Eliopoulos added.
CIM is one of CalPERS largest urban investment partners, with a long and successful track record nationally in delivering quality real estate projects. Under the new arrangement, CalPERS will continue to be a passive investor in the project. CIM will serve as lead developer and managing member. “Through his vision, Mr. Saca brought focus to the terrific potential of this important site,” said John Given, a Principal at CIM. “We believe that, by taking a step back and working closely with the City and all stakeholders involved, we can develop a program that will serve all of those in the community who want to see this site achieve its potential.” CalPERS has notified the city of Sacramento of its plans and received a favorable response. “ We are grateful to John Saca for his wonderful vision for this site, for his tenacity to try to make this project a reality against a changing economic climate. At all times, he had the interests of the city and its citizens at heart,” said Ray Kerridge City Manager.

“We are also lucky to have an institution such as CalPERS in our community,” Kerridge added. “We appreciate the leadership that CalPERS has demonstrated. Given its strategic location, this site can become another crown jewel for the development of downtown Sacramento. Rather than walking away from the project and the commitments made by Towers on Capitol Mall, LLC, CalPERS took decisive action in taking control of the site and involving CIM, a development group that we at the City have worked with successfully in the past.”

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Sacramento Museum of History, Science and Technology, The Unity Center, The Crocker, The Studios for Performing Arts, and Indian Heritage Center

Lot of stuff going on this past week in the culture scene in Sacramento.

- The Sacramento Museum of History, Science and Technology takes a big step.

- The Capitol Unity Center receives another big gift from an Indian tribe.

- The Crocker Art Museum Expansion is on the receiving end of more incredible generosity by the Raley /Teel and Friedman families to the tune of 10 Million.

- The Teel family does it again donating 5 Million to the Studios for the Performing Arts building.

- The Indian Heritage Center find a home on the river in West Sacramento


- The Sacramento Museum of History, Science and Technology

A couple months ago I posted a piece on Sacramento Museum of Art, Science, and Human Perception (SMASHp), well it looks like it will be taking one more step forward.

Next week the city will be approving a one-year ERN for the museum to be placed at the old PG&E site on Jibbom Street.

There is no mention of how much this would cost, but it says that many companies have expressed interest in supporting the museum, including Wells Fargo, Teichert, and PG&E.

- Captiol Unity Center

Tribe gives $1.5 million to Capital Unity Center
By Stephen Magagnini - Bee Staff Writer
Friday, June 1, 2007

The Capital Unity Center got a little closer to its $20 million goal Thursday when the Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians pledged $1.5 million to the proposed center for diversity and tolerance.


The Capital Unity Center, which will be at the corner of 16th and N streets, will be an interactive multimedia learning experience dedicated to inclusion, diversity and dialogue across racial, ethnic, gender and religious lines.

- The Crocker Art Museum Expansion

Huge boost for museum
Crocker's top benefactors pitch in an extra $10 million for coming expansion
By Bobby Caina Calvan - Bee Staff Writer

Two of the Crocker Art Museum's biggest boosters are reaching deeper into their pockets, each pledging an additional $5 million for a major expansion that would triple the size of a facility struggling to accommodate its burgeoning collection and supersized ambitions.

The $10 million infusion was announced at a fundraiser at Cal Expo on Saturday night, as the museum prepares to break ground next month on its new $85 million wing and launch a broader appeal for cash among the general public.

To date, the museum's capital campaign has relied on a relatively small group of benefactors -- 164, by the museum's count -- who have contributed $80 million of the $100 million goal.

The biggest contributor has been the Joyce and Jim Teel Family Foundation -- a product of the Raley's grocery fortune -- which announced on Saturday that it would add $5 million to its earlier pledge of $8 million.

Mort and Marcy Friedman, who chair the museum's fundraising campaign, also announced they would donate another $5 million to the effort, bringing their total contributions to $10 million.

- The Studios for Performing Arts

Joyce Raley Teel is giving 5M to the Studios for the Performing Arts building at 14th and H to be named "The E. Claire Raley Studios for the Performing Arts".

City Council Staff Report

- Indian Heritage Center

W. Sac lands culture center

City will donate riverfront site for American Indian museum after drive for new capital location stalls
By M.S. Enkoji - Bee Staff Writer

Prime riverfront property in West Sacramento, once offered for a new governor's mansion, will house a state museum and center for California's American Indian heritage and culture.

West Sacramento has agreed to donate 43 acres on the Sacramento River for the California Indian Heritage Center, which had tried for at least two years to locate in Sacramento along the American River.