Friday, May 16, 2008

City paves way for Greyhound to leave downtown

Here is the link to the staff report on the subject.

Richards Boulevard: That's the ticket
City paves way for Greyhound to leave downtown
Sacramento Business Journal - by Michael Shaw Staff writer
Friday, May 16, 2008

Greyhound is finally pulling out of downtown.

After years of failed attempts to move the terminal from 703 L St., Greyhound Lines, its landlord and the city of Sacramento have cut a deal to temporarily relocate it to Richards Boulevard and eventually into The Railyards.

City leaders say the terminal's presence in the business core has scared off redevelopment while remaining a logistical headache for the bus service, which must maneuver buses through congested downtown streets. Moving the terminal has been a top priority for city leaders for years -- at one point a total of 87 sites around town were examined, but plans seemed to invariably fall through.

The City Council will likely vote Tuesday on the deal, which would move the terminal to an interim facility to be built on city-owned land on Richards Boulevard. The city's long-term goal will be to eventually move Greyhound to the intermodal transportation facility envisioned for The Railyards, the massive redevelopment project sought by Thomas Enterprises Inc.

"This goes back more than a decade," said Sacramento assistant city manager John Dangberg, one of the officials who shaped the plan. "There have been lots of people who want to see this happen. It was a top priority when the Downtown Partnership was formed."

Mayor Heather Fargo announced the deal was all but done in January, only to have it slip when financial details needed tweaking.

"I think it's a great move for the city and a great move for Greyhound," Fargo said this week. "It's been a long time coming. It's a viable business, but it was difficult for our police force and their security."

Added Al Gianini, a past president of the Downtown Sacramento Partnership: "It's going to be an historic City Council meeting."

Under the deal, the city will buy out Greyhound's lease with landlord Danny Benvenuti for up to $1.4 million and spend an additional $1 million in infrastructure improvements for the new terminal at 420 Richards Blvd. The city acquired that property last year when it bought a nearby office building.

Benvenuti will develop the interim terminal, which could cost up to $4.5 million, and the city will retain ownership. Benvenuti's share of the improvements is $3.5 million, and the city will kick in $1 million more if needed. If approved by the Council, construction is expected to begin in September, and Greyhound will move in next year.

"We're happy that the city's happy," Benvenuti said, noting that the terminal's relocation became somewhat of a Sacramento saga over the years. "We're never excited to see a good tenant leave. Under the circumstances, it was inevitable."

The deal is set up to provide him a fixed 12 percent profit for developing the interim bus terminal. Greyhound pays Benvenuti about $39,200 a month to rent the L Street terminal.

Officials said the downtown location causes traffic congestion and the terminal's presence hampered investment in the area.

As for the L Street site, Benvenuti said he is in negotiations with a "major hotel operator" and forming a plan to demolish the terminal and build a hotel with apartments or condos on top.

He bought the property 19 years ago and has spent $200,000 over five years looking for a place to move the terminal. He found 87 locations, but each one was rejected. Residents didn't want the buses in their neighborhoods, the sites were logistically problematic, or other problems surfaced. That search even included the 420 Richards site, but former owners there wanted to build office buildings and wouldn't sell it, he said.

Dangberg said that once Greyhound leaves the interim terminal for The Railyards, the city could use the site for its own fleet of vehicles. But that building could eventually be torn down to make way for more office buildings.

The intermodal facility in The Railyards won't be built for several years because federal funding hasn't been secured, the city said. The costs involved are estimated at between $200 million and $300 million.

On Tuesday, the City Council will likely vote on authorizing $2 million in capital improvements for curbs, gutters and other improvements at Richards Boulevard and will vote on accepting the business terms with Benvenuti.


Jack said...

Hotel??? Sounds intriguing. Wonder what hotel he is looking at to go there.

Sac Urbanist said...

This is a terrible idea. Do you know who uses intercity buses? People who don't have cars - AKA transit users! This move will transfer the bus station away from a central location within walking distance of many businesses, housing units, and transit lines, to an outskirts location with terrible transit access and almost nothing else in close proximity. Meanwhile our city leaders pay lip service to providing "transit oriented development" near light rail - what could possibly be more "transit oriented" than a central bus terminal? How many patrons of the five star hotel replacing the bus station do you think will ever set foot in a transit vehicle in Sacramento in their lives? Not many. Welcome to more traffic in the gentrified, sanitized downtown.

somebody else said...

I'm glad the talk, talk, talk phase is finaly coming to an end. It's a great idea, it beats doing nothing, which has happening for the last 10 years or so.

Anonymous said...

Thank God. This bus station brought crime and blight to the downtown area.

I hope they replace it with a giant starbucks.