Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Aura and Epic Dead

Little late is posting this..(Traveling right..and man do I love NY. Gets better every time I come here...I'm running the NYC Marathon so wish me luck!!)

I think we all knew after all the "We will break ground in 2 months" we kept hearing from Nassi, we had to know Aura unofficially was dead, and now Epic seems to be following suit as well now that.

This line cracked me up...maybe I'm wrong but this doesn't see too routine to me.

In an e-mail Thursday, Nassi characterized the letter as a "routine" part of shutting down the city approval process for Epic for lack of funding.

While the big ones are falling, I just hope we can continue to see the smaller scale housing projects, restaurants, nightclubs, entrainment and retail continue to come and hopefully soon we can see a more achievable project like Cathedral Square, the 10th and K Building, or Metropolitan.

The smaller projects like L Street Lofts, Globe Mills, Newton Booth, Crystal Ice, Capitol Lofts, East End Gateway, and Cooper Union Buildings are still important in creating density and synergy. Being in NY right now, its amazing how dense this city is, even in areas that are dominated by buildings in the 3-8 range with a couple in 20-range mixed in. If Downtown or The Railyards (More likely than DT in my mind) looked and felt like The Village (easily my favorite neighborhood in NY), I would be very happy.

Remember to keep that in mind when we see projects actual built like Fremont Mews, 18th and L, L Street Lofts and Cooper Union. We can create the density that downtown and midtown need even with smaller projects that don't push 50+ story.

I do disagree greatly with people who posted in the comments section. To say nothing has happen is ridiculous. The amount of dinning, entertainment, shopping, and even housing options in the central city has blossomed a great deal in last 5 years, with more still on the way...we just didn't see any super large projects happen, yet.

Also, as "Blogging The Grid" mentioned, I think Mary Lynne Vellinga has been doing a good job covering these projects.

Condo project loses its star
Architect Libeskind cuts ties to developer, citing nonpayment
By Mary Lynne Vellinga - mlvellinga@sacbee.com
Last Updated 12:01 am PDT Friday, October 26, 2007

Billboards featuring the bemused face of star architect Daniel Libeskind have disappeared from downtown street corners, and so have plans by Denver developer Craig Nassi to build two Libeskind buildings here.

First, Nassi's Aura condominium project on the Capitol Mall ran into trouble. Now the head of BCN Development says he can't find financing for the 50-story Epic condo and hotel tower he planned for 12th and I streets, either.

Last week, a lawyer representing Libeskind and the local office of architecture firm Stantec Inc. sent a letter to Nassi terminating their relationship for nonpayment.

"Design professionals do not have the ability to continue working for free," said the letter from lawyer John Condrey, a copy of which was provided to the city.

In an e-mail Thursday, Nassi characterized the letter as a "routine" part of shutting down the city approval process for Epic for lack of funding.

"We still have a great relationship and are in talks about other projects in the country and the world," he said of Libeskind.

"Sacramento's economy is so depressed at the moment, we can't get lenders to consider any projects at this time," he said.

"It's frustrating, but we have to hold off on burning the fire until we know lenders will participate in the projects. We are still working daily to try to find lenders who have the same vision as us."

The break comes less than two weeks after Nassi appeared at the Sacramento City Planning Commission to get input on the Epic project. At the meeting, he showed off a new three-dimensional model of the Libeskind design for Epic that he trundled around the room in a case.

He told the commissioners that he was "off and running" with his sales team, and that Epic had a design and price range that were "achievable to build."

Yet his relationship with Libeskind in Sacramento was nearing an end.

Lawyer Condrey wrote the city Sept. 17, saying Libeskind and Stantec had "terminated" their relationship with Nassi, and were "asserting their right to halt work utilizing their copyrighted intellectual property."

The letter asks that "all plans and renderings" for the Epic project be returned or destroyed.

After that letter was sent, Stantec told the city to disregard the correspondence while it tried to work things out with Nassi, said Planning Manager David Kwong.

But then, on Oct. 19, their lawyer fired off a new letter confirming that Libeskind and Stantec were no longer working for Nassi, and that the application for Epic should be withdrawn.

"Architects of record regret that events have led to this necessary action," the Oct. 19 letter stated.

Aura and Epic were designed by Libeskind, who vaulted to fame after he was chosen to do the master plan for the World Trade Center reconstruction.

On both local buildings, the soaring glass facades were cut by sweeping lines created by balconies and other elements.

Kwong said the application for Epic has been withdrawn, though the city plans to keep Libeskind's drawings on file as part of its public records.

As for the Aura project, Planning Department spokeswoman Jill Scofield said it remains approved and ready to go if and when Nassi decides to build it. The city had agreed to lend Nassi $10 million, but pulled back the offer in August after he failed to meet a deadline to secure his financing.

"We're ready to issue building permits on Aura," Scofield said. "It's up to the developer to come pull them. But we haven't heard about any movement on that, either."

The scrapheap of high-rises planned for Sacramento before the real estate market collapsed is starting to pile up. Libeskind's creations join the twin 53-story hotel and condominium towers formerly planned for the Capitol Mall by local developer John Saca.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Now rising at 16th & P -- nothing

Sacramento Business Journal

Unstable home prices and high construction costs are getting the blame for another condo project flame-out. After a long window for exclusive negotiations with the Capitol Area Development Authority, San Diego's Lambert Development has shelved plans for 53 condos at 16th and P Streets in Sacramento.

Despite the offer of free land, market conditions would've created wafer-thin profit margins at best. Lambert had been considering demolition to clear the site for a four-story building.
That means the site is available again, if developers can figure out how to create high-density housing on these urban infill sites without going broke.

There appears to be progress at another CADA site, however. After hitting budget overruns, The Capitol Lofts on R Street partnership is being reorganized, with Holliday Development of Emeryville moving into the managing partner slot. Holliday, which has extensive experience building lofts, has told CADA to expect construction next year. Former managing partner Regis Homes had said the project was $4 million over budget.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Curtis Park Village

It appears Curtis Park Village is still moving forward. As I write this, there is continuing remediation work at the site. If you happen to be driving on the Sutterville Road overpass, take a look over at the former West Pacific Railroad site where you'll see large piles of dirt being moved around. It's anticipated that the soil clean-up work will last till the summer of 2008. The project will likely be heard at the City Council late winter or early spring and construction will commence in the latter half of 2008.

The Curtis Park Village project consists of 72 acres, with most of the property being contaminated with toxic and hazardous substances. A majority of the site will be excavated in varying degrees up to 40 feet in depth and the contaminated soil will be removed to a federally controlled toxic dumping site in Utah.

The current plan for the village is to have 225 residential units and 160,000sf of commercial use.

Friday, October 12, 2007

New Rendering for Meridian II

The Business Journal this week had a new rendering an article for Meridian II at 15th and K as well as a nice looking rendering. I had posted an earlier rendering a few months ago, but it def looks different now.

At first glance, it looks nice toward the top... but is that an exposed parking garage on the first few floors though? If so, I hate that.

As for tenants, Bullivant Houser Bailey Law Firm took up the remaining space at Meridian I, which thought that they would want to take more space at MII.

I wonder if CalTrans is going to strike up the band for this one too....


AKT reveals plans for proposed Meridian II office tower project
Developer hopes 24-story building's features will earn LEED certification
By Michael Shaw of The Sacramento Business Journal

Plans for the 24-story Meridian II office tower include a curved glass façade, a spire and a wall of plants.

A curved glass façade, a spire and a wall of plants seven stories high are a few of the design features divulged by AKT Investments Inc. and the Tsakopoulos family for their Meridian II office tower at 15th and K streets.

AKT expects to submit an application to the city of Sacramento within the week for the 24-story building at the southwest corner of that intersection, now an empty lot.

The owners say it will be the first privately funded and privately occupied "green" office building in Sacramento. They're aiming for silver certification under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, a system that awards points for energy- and water-saving features.

"We're excited to be a part of the ongoing revitalization of downtown Sacramento," AKT president Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis said in a prepared statement. "We are pleased that Meridian Plaza II supports the vision of a vital downtown."

The building will have sun shading for the southern exposure to reduce air conditioning use, but it will also get points for its proximity to light rail.

While negotiations are continuing with possible tenants, none have signed on, the company said. It declined to disclose the estimated construction cost for the tower.

If history is any indication of future success, the 300,000-square-foot building should fare well compared to other downtown property.

Two new office towers are hitting the market on Capitol Mall, including Tsakopoulos Investments' 500 Capitol Mall building. Those buildings won't compete with Meridian II for the same tenants.

The Capitol Mall office market serves law firms and finance, while the area near Capitol Park sees lobbyists and other state-related tenants, said John Frisch, managing partner of Cornish & Carey Commercial's Sacramento office.

Capitol Park-area "buildings lease faster than the other parts of downtown," he said. "That type of demand -- I don't know if that continues, but the other buildings that have gone up, they've all outperformed the market in other areas."

They also have been smaller than the proposed Meridian II.

The site is adjacent to AKT's 12-story Meridian Plaza, which the company purchased in 2004. That building is entirely leased.

AKT is also renovating the building immediately to the west, 1414K St., the former home of Pacific Bell. That building is being turned into office lofts, also designed for tenants such as lobbyists and organizations that want close access to the Capitol.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

L Street Lofts Hard Hat Tour

Last Saturday I got to go on a hardhat tour of The L Street Lofts. They aregetting it up and ready ASAP. I was told that in December people will beginto move in. Anyway, for those that are interested, the nice people at the Lofts are offering tours of the under construction building to anyone who's interested at 3pm everyday (I believe?)... just call to get signed up.

This room rocks. I love how the concrete column on the wall has the sametexture as the ceiling.

Progerss at 500 Capitol Mall

Monday, October 08, 2007

Neo-Crocker: A Modern Culture Party

On Friday the 19th, Crocker Art Museum will be hosting an event like no other seen before in Sacramento.

Neo-Crocker: A Modern Culture Party
Friday, October 19, 8 PM to 1 AM
$50 advance tickets; $75 at the door (if available)
21 and over/cash bar

Fire dancers, Ferraris, champagne and more await you at a party unlike anything you have ever experienced at the Crocker. Neo-Crocker will serve as the last major onsite event until construction is complete and the New Crocker opens in 2010. Activities throughout the evening will be held in the Museum Courtyard and the gallery and office space that has been emptied in preparation of demolition of the Herold Wing. The large open space allows for DJ dancing, image projection, artist’s murals and dance troupes along with hors d’oeuvres by Restaurant 55º and a cash bar. Images of the Crocker’s expansion project along with images from Burning Man by Andy Pischalnikoff from the Playa Vision Series will be included in projections on the blank gallery walls.

Four Ways to Buy Tickets

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The View From West Sacramento

Last Saturday on Sept. 29th , I got up bright and early to take a few shots from the top of the CalSTRS tower. At 7am when I arrived at the job site it was still pretty dark outside, but when I got in the man-lift that took us to the 18th floor, I realized it was actually fantastic conditions with the sun just starting to rise over the Sierra Mountains. It was a cool 46 degrees out side, perfect conditions to take crisp shots of the Sacramento skyline and the tower.

The Tower will have sub-floors on every floor. In this picture you can see that the sub-floor will be about a foot above the concrete floor. This sub-floor is being put in so computer and electrical wires can be run through out the floor with out being restricted. It will give more flexibility to move equipment around when needed. I personally had never seen something like this before.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Oktoberfest In Sacramento

Couple Oktoberfest events this weekend...any others I'm missing?

Sacramento Turn Verein


Oktoberfest -Friday, Saturday, October 5-6
DOORS OPEN: Friday, Oct 5th at 6 p.m. & Saturday, Oct 6th at 5 p.m.
German Music in the Main Hall with dancing from 7 – 11 p.m.
Edelweiss Band on Friday & Karl Lebherz Band on Saturday
Oktoberfest Beer from Munich, authentic German food, Kaffeehaus , dancing to German music , Biergarten with specialty foods, and unique local bands upstairs

(Leather Souls – Friday/The Famous Trio – Saturday)
Also: Turner Harmonie - Camtia Schuhplattlers
Food - Entertainment - Dancing
Your favorite Drinks - Oktoberfest Beer - Wine – Champagne
Admission at the door: $10.00, Children 6 -12: $5.00, under 6: free
Come early for preferred seating and enjoy a great evening!


Brew it Up. Saturday October 6th

The Freshest Beer In the Valley!!

All Day: (12+) brewery fresh German beer styles on tap, plus another 10 American, British & Belgian styles – all made onsite at Brew It Up! NOTE: other than at Brew It Up! you won't every find a lineup of brewery fresh German style beers like this... not in Sacramento, not in California, not anywhere!

Starting at 11am: First 100 diners get a FREE Brew It Up! Logo Pint Glass

All Day Long: throughout the day listen to classic German Bier Hall tunes, polkas & drinking songs & marches while feasting on one the biggest & best tasting German style menus in the region.

11am – 2pm: $2 drafts & $2 bar appetizers available throughout the restaurant.

1pm - Midnight on the Bier Garden: eat, drink & be merry under the tent! The full bar on the Bier Garden will feature premium cocktails, no less than 5 great tasting Bavarian Style lagers, Jager Shooters and our full menu!

3pm - 6pm: Jack Daniels takes over for a few hours with the Jack Daniels tour bus, promo girls and drink specials for an all American Happy Hour! Jack Daniels shooters, cocktails and boiler-makers will be on special, as well as Jack Daniels BBQ ribs and BBQ tri-tip... get it while it lasts!

8am - Midnight: Cuesta Drive and The River City DJ combine forces to bring a full night of party music, blues, fun, latin rock, reggae, hip hop and top 40!

8:00pm – 11:00pm: "$3 Tooters & Shooters" – enjoy a visit from the Jagerettes and special $3 Jagermeister cocktail & shot specials!

Plus - Special Guest Host of the Party
Keith Brooks from 100.5 The Zone will be broadcasting LIVE from 6pm - 10pm...with all kinds of promotions, contests, and prize drawings!