Monday, July 30, 2007

Follow up to "More to life than food?"

I mentioned that I heard there was a new pizza place coming to 16th and Q by someone from Italy. Here is an article in the Bee today with more information, including a new Italian clothing store.

6 Degrees Boutique also opened a few months ago virtually across the street on 16th between Q and R St.


By Bob Shallit - Bee Columnist
Last Updated 6:04 am PDT Monday, July 30, 2007
Story appeared in BUSINESS section, Page D3

Pizzas and polos: Andrea Lepore loves Italian food. And Italian clothes.

Which explains why she's partnering in a new venture that combines both.

Hot Italian, a restaurant-boutique, is opening next year at the former site of Young's Fireside Shop at 16th and Q in midtown Sacramento.

The idea is to have "quick gourmet" food in one part of the L-shaped building, sportswear ("from $20 hats to $400 leather jackets") in the other.

Isn't that an odd pairing of retail services? It's a new concept here, Lepore agrees, "but there are a lot of places in Europe that do it."

Her partner in the venture is Fabrizio Cercatore, a chef from the Italian coastal town of LaSpezia. An exterior makeover of the building will be done by property owner Glenn Sorensen, a member of the Loftworks development team.

This is the second restaurant venture for Lepore, who ran a sports marketing business and dabbled in publishing before deciding to concentrate on development. Her first? She's an investor in the L Wine Lounge & Urban Kitchen at 18th and l streets.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Crocker Art Museum Expansion Officially Breaks Ground

Long long time in the making. Ground breaking is at 10am today.

I'm going to try and snap some pictures today, but if anyone happens to be down there and gets some pictures, please post them in the comments section or email them to me and I will post them.


Crocker Press Release

Crocker Art Museum Breaks Ground on 125,000 Square-Foot Expansion

New building triples existing facility, adding much-needed gallery space, visitor amenities and operational efficiencies

July 26, 2007 – Sacramento, Calif. – The Crocker Art Museum officially broke ground today on its 125,000-square-foot expansion with a ceremony involving city and county officials and donors to the project. The groundbreaking begins a nearly three-year construction and move-in process with a grand opening expected in early 2010. The museum remains open throughout construction.

The new wing, designed by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects of New York, is approximately 125,000 square feet and will more than triple the size of the current facility, adding four times the space for traveling exhibitions and three times the space for permanent collection exhibitions. The expansion will also provide dedicated programming space, including an education center and auditorium; onsite collections care including secure art storage and a conservation lab; a loading dock and freight elevator for easier art handling; a café; and an additional 7,000-square-foot courtyard.

“The City along with private donors are investing in one of Sacramento’s most precious regional treasures,” said Mayor Heather Fargo. “The Crocker Art Museum will continue to be a welcoming cultural destination for residents and visitors for many generations to come.”

The Crocker is undertaking a $100 million capital campaign to fund the building and add to its endowment. To date, the campaign has raised $82 million, $12 million from the City of Sacramento, $4 million from the state of California, $2.5 million from Sacramento County and $63.5 from 166 individuals and foundations.

“With 80 percent of our fundraising goal achieved, we are now beginning to talk more widely to museum members and friends who share in our conviction that a world-class museum will be central to cultural growth in our region,” said Campaign Co-Chair Marcy Friedman. “The generosity that has come from this community is unprecedented for a cultural institution. These gifts come from individuals who, not only love art, but who clearly recognize the economic and public value that will come to Sacramento with the Crocker’s expansion.”
“Today’s groundbreaking brings us a step closer to realizing the art museum that Sacramento deserves – one that will greatly enhance the visitor experience with more amenities such as a café, the ability to show each of our key collection areas and blockbuster traveling exhibitions, and dedicated programming space for art classes, film, lectures and concerts,” said Lial Jones, Director, Crocker Art Museum.

The Crocker Art Museum was founded in 1885 and continues as the leading art institution for the California Capital Region and Central Valley. The Museum offers a diverse spectrum of special exhibitions, events and programs to augment its collections of California, European and Asian artworks. The Crocker is located at 216 O Street in downtown Sacramento. Museum hours are 10 AM–5 PM, Tuesday–Sunday; Thursday until 9 PM. For more information on exhibits and events call (916) 264-5423 or visit

# # #

Media Contact: LeAnne R. Ruzzamenti
Media: (916) 264-1963
Mobile : (916) 213-9402
Public: (916) 264-5423
216 O Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Township 9 Public Hearing with the Planning Commission

Township 9 is comprised of 4 districts. Transit Area, The Central Mixed-Use Area, Live/Work Townhouse Area, and Riverfront Area.These are from the Planning Commission Meeting Agenda for July 26th.

On July 26th Township 9 will go before the Planning Commission to review the mixed use of residential, retail, and office use of 65 acres. Rezoning of 37 acres has been requested from heavy industrial to residential mixed use zones. This is another sleeper project that when compete will meet all the urbanism principles of smart growth. Township 9 has proposed 2,981 dwelling units and 147,000sf of retail. In May of this year the proposal went before the City Preservation Commission and received approval to move forward with demolition of the existing structures on the site.

Friday, July 20, 2007

More to life than food?

Even as a foodie, yes.

I love good food. Therefore, one of my biggest joys of living in the Grid is all the new dinning options we have seen pop up over the last few years, in particularly the independent stuff.

High end, low end, squab and sweetbreads, shu mai and chicken feet, sashimi and sake, burgers and fries, pizza and beer, $5 a dish, $40 a dish, I have no bias...other than chains restaurants...okay, and chicken feet. I usually shop at chain stores for clothes and such, but chains are just not what I prefer.

There was an article in the business journal today regarding the Firestone Building and how California Pizza Kitchen, Flemming's Steakhouse and an Irish Bar will be joining the mix. I love the Irish Bar, I could see myself going to CPK once in a while (though I hear there is a new pizza place opening at 16th and Q by a guy moving here from Italy in the near future), and I don't see myself going to Flemings often at all.

The article also mentions how local places do much better in downtown and midtown, and chain better in the 'burbs. I definitely agree with that, but at the same time considering the amount of hotel space and the convention center within 3 block, I think these two will do fine.

It's a matter of personal choice, but here is the bigger question and issue I have and has been brought up many times by me and many other people, including Ron Gilliland, owner of Lucca.

"You can't just have restaurants in every building. There's got to be some boutiques or stores -- or something else."

At what point do we start seeing more clothing, shoe, music, book stores, small markets, cheese store (I won't lump the previous two in with restaurants), yarn and flower shops come into the mix? To really build neighborhoods where people really live, work and play, we need to see all these come together. The "play" in "Work, Live and Play" involves more than just restaurants.

Midtown has a nice mix with some good success stories, even though it's somewhat scattered and I'd like more places that stay open later for some after dinner spending or window shopping. With most of the new projects being built now, we only see restaurants in the retail spaces.

Obviously, opening a new restaurant in the Grid is much less of a challenge than it was a decade ago (even the not so good ones seem to be doing fine), but what would it take for retailers, chain or local owned, to achieve the same success restaurants have seen? More people would be one thing.

The Grid has become a destination for people to come and enjoy food, thus pulls from a larger area, not just nearby residence. Shopping is just not there yet.

Just like with what happen with restaurants, it's going to take a few to make that leap, have success and the rest will follow.

Anyone out there feeling froggie? Anyone heard of anything potential coming down the road?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Cathedral Square Approved

Cathedral Square was approved by the planning commission yesterday and looks for design review approval next week.

It was originally proposed back in 2004, even before The Towers and Aura, but was somewhat forgotten since the other two took all the spotlight.

I really like the base of the building, which is important to me, esp on the 11th Street side. We probably won't see ground breaking until next year though. I'll see what I can dig up though.

Even with the demise of The Towers (and who knows with Aura) there are still quite a few large proposals out there for Downtown, including this one, Metropolitan and 10th & K, which will hopefully be easier to build. Plus a slew of smaller mixed use projects in midtown on the drawing boards from the East End Gateway to Newton Booth and Trammell Crow.

Even with The Towers going down, there are still a little less than 600 units still under construction in Downtown and Midtown, and around 800 that have been completed over the last 3 years.

Cathedral Square (25 floors) 290’
233 Condominiums/Mixed-Use
~10K Retail Space
328 Parking Spaces
Located at 11th & J Street
Developer: St. Anton Investments, LLC and Cordano Company
Architect: Kwan Henmi

L Street Lofts Construction Tour

L Street Lofts
South Side of 18th and L
92 For-Sale Condo Units
6K Retail Space
Developer Sotiris Kolokotronis
Architect: Ankrom Moisan Associated Architects

Last week I got to go on a hard hat walking tour of the L Street Lofts and and see what will a fantastic building when compleate later this year.

The main entrance will have two resturants in this big open area.

Up on the third floor many of the lofts are starting to take shape. I loved these lower units on L Street... being able to walk out onto a padio and listen to the people and activity below was nice.

L Street view on third floor.

All the units have 10 foot ceiling and open living areas. All the units facing east and west on the third floor have big patios to enjoy.

Big patios!!!

Forth Floor

Forth floor view looking west.

Fourth Floor northwest corner.

Sixth floor... big and open without walls installed yet.

Sixth floor view looking west

Sixth floor view looking Northeast towards Faces.

Seventh floor. These are temporary support columns for the pour of concrete up on the eight floor.

Eight floor.

As you can see the view from the top will be gorgeous.

There it is poking out of the tree line. When finished, I think this will be a fine addition to midtown.