Wednesday, December 30, 2009
The Mayor made a call out in November for prospective developers to turn in their ideas for a new Sacramento arena by December 24th and seven proposals were received. Of the seven ideas by developers, one over-view site plan was released and in my opinion we can go nowhere but up from here. Above is a plan by Tripp Development/Cachet Realty Group, Inc. and it looks as though it might have been whipped together in a matter of minutes before hustling it down to City Hall.
The Tripp Development plan includes The Towers as if there is still a chance they will be built… but they died three years ago. I also wonder why this rending which was done with a ball point pen also includes a deck over I-5 when just a few months ago the city cancelled pursuing that idea after more than ten years of study. My last thought on this rendering is that it looks as though it was an after thought and hardly something of any merit, I can't imagine any of the others presenting their ideas in this same format. It was only a few weeks ago The Capitol Creative Collective in partnership with The Downtown Sacramento Partnership hosted their first Idea Fair on vision for future downtown development. I think the Mayor should also talk to these guys to see what they come up with… all of whom will also pitch their ideas for free.
In the end it’s all about where the moneys going to come from to pay for the new arena. In the last ten year nearly all but one of the seven proposals submitted to the Mayor have been proposed before. Their is one new site proposal for the The Docks area which doe’s not make any sense when just a few weeks ago the City Council approved both the plan and EIR for the Docks to be developed.
Here is a list of the seven new arena proposals as described by the Sacramento Press.
Thomas Enterprises, Inc. and Team, Sacramento Railyards
The offering proposes to build on years of planning by the city of Sacramento and combines regional mass transit, large-scale community events, arts and entertainment venues in the city's downtown and region.
The Kamilos Company and Team, Sacramento Railyards
The proposed entertainment and sports complex will be located on the city-owned property, south of the newly aligned railroad tracks, within the Railyards Specific Plan.
Tripp Development and Team, Westfield Downtown Plaza
The development location is at the northeast corner of the intersection of Third and L streets, on the site currently owned by the city and developed as a multi-level parking facility.
M&M Group, led by Matt Haines and Team, Sacramento Docks Area
The Docks Area is located in Downtown Sacramento, adjacent to the central business district defined on the north by Capitol Mall, on the east by the I-5 freeway, on the south by Broadway and on the west by the Sacramento River. Immediately north is the Historic Old Sacramento District.
Doug Tatara, Cal Expo
This proposal includes a theme park and arena at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds location.
Natomas ESC Partners and Team, Natomas
The site proposed is the city-owned 100-acre property adjacent to and north of the existing Arco Arena and just south of Del Paso Road, minutes from Downtown Sacramento and five miles from Sacramento International Airport.
Ali Mackani and Team, Westfield Downtown Plaza
(The proposal is) centrally located in the heart of Sacramento’s downtown on the current site of Westfield Plaza’s east end. The plan proposes an extensive retail experience, dining options and a public park.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
The Sacramento City Council on Tuesday approved both the plan and EIR for the Docks to be developed next to the Sacramento river as well as the rezoning of 29 acres to general commercial from heavy industrial.
The specific plan for the Docks includes:
• 1,000 residential units;
• 200,000 square feet of office;
• 43,000 square feet of retail.
Adoption of the plan allows for a shovel-ready site when the market for development improves.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
For years, the relationship between Westfield and City Hall could be summed up with one word: Disagreeable.
No more. I am proud to say I have developed a positive, special relationship with Westfield. I can meet with top executives and talk business on a level playing field.
This shows how personality can triumph over charter limitations.
The relationship with Westfield is crucial because Westfield controls a key part of our city – the Downtown Plaza shopping center, exclusive of Macy’s.
As Westfield’s position in the mall struggles, downtown also struggles.
My talks with Westfield executives were crisp, efficient, always respectful and professional. That’s how Westfield operates.
Simply, I asked Westfield to step aside from the Downtown Plaza if the company wasn’t in position to invest at a significant level. Obviously, I don’t want our city held hostage.
To its credit, Westfield agreed.
The next steps will be critical. Months ago, I assembled a team of city experts to create a new vision for the K Street corridor, including the Downtown Plaza.
Our team listened to public testimony and came up with an inspiring vision that includes reconnecting the downtown grid from the Sacramento River to the Convention Center.
Westfield shared some of the vision, but had concerns. Obviously, our dream is expensive. But we are not talking about wallpaper and light fixtures. We are talking about a re-imagined downtown: a huge project creating economic development and thousands of jobs.
Again, Westfield stepped up and said they respect Sacramento enough to cooperate in a sale or search for new investment.
Now it’s up to me to find the right investment and development groups to buy Westfield’s positions in Downtown Plaza.
These deals can be very complicated. We have a long way to go.
But the victory here is that the city and Westfield are approaching the future as partners, even if we agree to part ways. Westfield wants downtown to prosper even if the company leaves Sacramento.
That’s what relationships are all about.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
The property has been tied up for 14 months in an "Exclusive Right to Negotiate" with USA Hospitality, Inc., but on December 8th the city staff will recommend releasing the Request for Qualifications for the 700 and 800 blocks of K Street with a due date of February 12, 2010. It’s anticipated that the city staff could return to the Redevelopment Agency by early April with several other proposals for the 8th & K Street site. In that time USA Hospitality must do three things.
1) Obtain stronger financial commitments from all equity financial partners.
2) Developer conduct an assessment of the Bel-Vue to determine the costs associated with preserving the façade.
3) Complete negotiated business terms for inclusion in Disposition and Development Agreement.
I still don’t see the value in the city giving away $33 million in land and future taxes when just two blocks up the street at 10th and K Street Toni Giannoni is asking for $10 million to build a 165-room hotel that better fits our market. Toni also has an excellent record of finishing projects downtown where there are more development regulations that can tie up a proposal. In the case of the 8th and K Street design, the developer has a half block to work with, so instead of a massive parking garage the parking should be spread out over the entire half block above the lobby and ground floor retail but below the hotel rooms like has been done with ten other high-rises in downtown. If the city can nudge the developer to do this sort of design instead, the proposal would actually be shorter but the curb appearance would be far nicer. We don’t need another 6 story car garage at the corner of 8th & L Street; car garages have a history of deadening side walk activity for entire blocks and devaluing distinctive corners in our city. I hope both our City Council and planners consider the consequences, there is no need to repeat mistakes of the past again.
Monday, November 30, 2009
As part of the Sacramento Railyards to commemorate Chinese heritage a privately-funded Cultural Center is currently being planned to provide cultural exhibits, performances, banquets, and a world-class trade facility. The development of the Yee Fow Center of History, Culture and Trade would also include residential, museum, library, educational class rooms, retail, and offices for trade oriented companies/associations, fitness center, and Chinese Garden.
The Trade Center includes a Residential tower of an approximate 40 stories with 360,000sf, Chinese Garden landscape of 1.38 acres, podium with office space of 93,000sf, history and culture center 100,000sf, retail 63,000sf. A “Feasibility Study” to determine the framework defining revenue, operating expenses, capital cost, and anticipated attendance still needs to begin. Stantec Design Firm did these renderings back in 2008.
More information on the Yee Fow Center
Thursday, November 19, 2009
For some reason the exterior lights of 500 Capitol Mall just aren’t as bright as they were advertised three years ago when it was approved to build by the city. Unless you standing right in front of the tower, the dim lights that are on it can hardly be seen and a big disappointment compared to the night rendering (shown above) making it really glow like the Wells Fargo Center on Capitol Mall. I have contacted the leasing company of the tower several times asking if the exterior lighting was going to be improve only to be told they would get back to me but never did. I was really hoping that this building would add more dramatic lighting to Capitol Mall like other new high-rises on the Mall. Unfortunately, I think this will be the best were going to see from this tower and it will join the many other high-rises downtown that have also failed to light-up as advertised like the Federal Courthouse and EPA tower on “I” Street. Aesthetics like lighting are so important now that our cities tiring to push forward a makeover of Capitol Mall from the riverfront to 9th Street, let’s hope some lighting improvements can be made in an effort to revamp the Malls future.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
“Downtown has always been a center for holiday activity. This year we’re taking it up a notch with the Carnival of Lights,” said DSP Executive Director Michael Ault. “Downtown, Old Sacramento and Midtown are partnering up to create a festive pedestrian experience that connects local events with nearby businesses, restaurants, theaters and other cultural attractions.”
Downtown landmarks including the Memorial Auditorium, Community Center Theatre, Elks Building, Hyatt Regency Hotel, Sheraton Grand Hotel, and Citizen Hotel will be aglow with colorful lighting as part of the cooperative program. The DSP, in collaboration with SMUD and the City of Sacramento, will illuminate K Street with LED twinkle lights and street poll decorations on J, K and L streets and Capitol Mall. The DSP is also partnering with private property owners and downtown businesses to participate in the holiday festivities by lighting their buildings.
Theatre of Lights
The Carnival of Lights will kick off in Old Sacramento the night before Thanksgiving with the annual Old Sacramento Tree Lighting and the Theatre of Lights, produced by the Old Sacramento Business Association. The Theatre of Lights will bring history to life through a narrated show of lights, sounds and visual effects. The light show will take visitors back to a time when the beloved poem The Night Before Christmas was first introduced in Sacramento in 1857. The first Tree Lighting of the season and Theatre of Lights inaugural night will take place on November 25 at 6 pm in Old Sacramento at Front and K streets. Two 10-minute light shows will run every Thursday through Sunday at 6:30 pm and 8:00 pm through January 3. For more information, visit www.oldsactheatreoflights.com.
Carnival at St. Rose
The Carnival at St. Rose is a 5-week holiday event that will transform 7th and K streets into a festive winter carnival. The event will take place in lieu of the ice rink this holiday season due to conflicts in construction schedules with the K Street Streetscape project and renovation of St. Rose of Lima Park.
Open daily November 27 through January 3 from noon until 8:00 pm, the Carnival at St. Rose will feature a ferris wheel, classic carnival and arcade games, and food vendors. In the spirit of the season, the carnival will also incorporate live entertainment, a gingerbread house chef challenge, a craft fair, and charity events. Admission to the event for a two-hour session is $6 for children and seniors and $7 for adults. Private parties and group discounts are available with advance reservations.
The Carnival at St. Rose is produced by the DSP and is expected to draw visitors from all over the region. The event is presented by the Westfield Downtown Plaza and sponsored by the University of San Francisco – Sacramento Campus, UC Davis Children’s Hospital, KCRA 3, My58, Johnny Rockets and the Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza.
For more information, visit www.downtownsac.org/carnival.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Saturday, November 07, 2009
The City of Sacramento looking into creating a stronger more vibrant connection from the Sacramento River to the Capitol by increasing activity on the Mall. The Cities currently looking into holding a design competition for the development from the riverfront to 9th Street where the Mall would become a major attraction for both residents and tourists by the year 2015. The variety of festivals and activities that regularly occur in its beautiful public spaces would draw hundreds of thousands of people annually. The magnificent public art and public works projects that connect the waterfront to the Capitol will be featured on web sites and in magazines around the world. The freeway will no longer feel like a dividing line. Instead, a tree-lined concourse with water features will lead people to and from the riverfront to enjoy the magnificent gateway to California's Capital.
Key strategies the vision for the short term (1 to 3 years):
· Create more events, more festivals to draw people to the Mall.
· Focus on "moveable pieces",e.g. 1-5 bridge, Mall median, Lot X (southwest corner of 3rd and Capitol Mall).
· Leverage existing transportation funds to get something done now that supports the long term vision.
· Deploy circulator buses to enable people to move freely and easily from Capitol Mall to Downtown Plaza, K Street, Old Sacramento, the Railyards, mid-town, R Street, and West Sacramento.
The Mid-term plan (3 to 5 years):
· Encourage the development of select numbers of retail establishments.
· Develop the CaIPERS site (northwest corner of 3rd and Capitol).
· Connect Capitol Mall to the river, metaphorically, physically in all aspects.
· Design highly visible, world-class gathering points for tourists and residents along the Mall.
· Develop more public transit solutions to enable people to circulate from Capitol Mall to Downtown Plaza, K Street, Old Sacramento, the Railyards, mid-town, R Street, and West Sacramento.
Next week on the 10th the City Council will adopt a resolution to be in partnership with the American Institute of Architects and stakeholders to develop a program and hold a design competition for a comprehensive Capitol Mall Plan from the riverfront to Capitol Mall, and the development of a project level design for a specific location.
November 10th 2009 City Council Resolution
Capitol Mall – Circa 1950
Saturday, October 31, 2009
The development team is the 10th and K Street Hotel Investors, LLC, which is a partnership of local developers with a strong track record of development in Sacramento. The partnership includes Brian Larson who was part of the development team for the Citizen Hotel, Jim Brennan who recently completed the office condominium project at 1001 K Street, and Toni Giannoni who has a long development history in Sacramento including Meridian Plaza and the recently completed Marriott Residence Inn at 15 th and L Streets.
The total development cost is estimated to be $43 million. In today's capital market this project can expect to attract an estimated $22 million in conventional financing and $11 million in equity investment, leaving a development gap of $10 million. City staff has begun researching public funding options to assist in the development of this project.
On Tuesday November 3rd, the city will authorize city staff to evaluate several options to fund the gap of $10 million with the posibility of a Transit Occupancy Tax (TOT) fund or to also use the Recovery Zone Facilities Bonds made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The bonds allow for lower financing rates, but require some sort of financial backing from the City or the Agency. City staff is working with the City Treasurer, the Budget Office, and the City Manager to investigate the possibility of utilizing this unique bonding opportunity.
Another option is a HUD 108 loan for approximately $4.7 million combined with a second loan for the remaining $5.3 million. City staff would also investigate potential resources within the City and Agency that could be utilized as capital for the second loan.
In either financing scenario, the City or Agency issued bonds or loans would be repaid or the payments pledged would secure the developer's financing.
If the City Council approves the recommendations to move forward, this will allow city staff to further investigate the financial feasibility of the hotel project so that more formal business terms can be presented at a later date. With this authorization, the developers would expend funds to further refine the hotel concept and result in moving the proposed project forward.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I'd like to encourage anyone who has an interest in this project t0 toss a few bucks their way to help the Powerhouse Science Center continue forward. I donated $25 and hope others will do the same.
This would be a great project for our area for both residence and visitors.
Science museum seeks seed money
by Suzanne Hurt, published on October 27, 2009 at 8:51PM
The Powerhouse Science Center is looking for a few good founding partners.
The Discovery Museum is trying to recruit private investors who can provide seed money to help build a $50 million "iconic" riverfront science and space museum hoped to rival some of the nation's biggest science museums.
The new, expanded museum is being developed to provide adventurous, hands-on science and math education to boost kids' interest in the subjects and to help draw high-tech companies — while launching the kind of serious waterfront development that's been talked about for at least three decades, museum supporters said Tuesday.
The four-acre campus would contain a museum built in the long-vacant Pacific Gas & Electric power station, a planetarium, river-view restaurants, conference center and small amphitheater within Robert T. Matsui Waterfront Park, north of Old Sacramento.
The project could be one of the best investments for the future of the city, region and beyond, said Sacramento County Supervisor Roger Dickinson.
"This center can become the place where our very youngest Sacramentans get excited and enthused about math and science," he said.
A capital campaign stalled by the recession has pushed an opening date to fall 2013.
At a breakfast presentation Tuesday morning, Discovery Museum Board President Michele Wong asked investors, including developers and representatives from banks and high-tech companies, to each contribute $25,000 as founding partners "to keep this project going forward."
The campaign needs $600,000 in cash within the next three months to stay on schedule and continue pursuing $30 million from federal, state and local public funding sources, she said.
"We started a traditional capital campaign three years ago. Then the floor fell out of the economy, and we realized a traditional campaign wouldn't work," she said.
The museum will resume its pursuit of $20 million in private investments after the economy improves, Wong said. Construction is expected to begin late next year and be completed in about three years.
Studies have shown that science centers like these raise students' math and science scores. Sacramento teachers have told staff that museum field trips increased their students' interest and hard work in the subjects for the rest of the year. Former students returned to say the Discovery Museum influenced them to go into science in college and careers, said Catherine Gray, director of the museum's Challenger Learning Center.
The Challenger Learning Center, designed with NASA, uses space flight to encourage students to study and use math, science, language arts and technology. Six weeks of learning in the classroom is rewarded and reinforced with a "mission" involving "mission control" and a simulated rocket.
"It's really great to see how they change from being a kid to an astronaut with a job to do," Gray said. "They have no idea they're doing their schoolwork for the morning."
The Discovery Museum, 3615 Auburn Blvd., focuses largely on school groups, whose students make up 50,000 out of 80,000 annual visitors. The 4,000-square-foot museum, which has room for one major exhibit at a time, isn't open to anyone but students every morning, and only three groups can be accommodated at a time.
While the Discovery Museum offers programs and attractions for families and adults, the size of the four-story Powerhouse Science Center will enable the museum to triple the number of visitors each year. The center will have exhibits on the human body, the world and space.
Another building will house restaurants and an education center where traveling exhibits from museums like the Smithsonian Institution will be displayed. A conference center is planned to serve as a gathering place for teachers and people working in science and technology.
"We know there's a lot more we could be doing, but we lack the space to do it," Wong said.
The new museum will house a three-story rocket where boilers and turbines were once housed in the old power station's atrium. The rocket commemorates Aerojet's role in the U.S. space program.
"That's really Sacramento's connection to the moon," said Beth Callahan, the museum's development and marketing director.
The 150-seat planetarium will be twice the size of the existing planetarium and the building will contain a larger Challenger Center. The new basement will contain an expanded, indoor archaeological dig site, replacing an outdoor site. The dig site will consist of four dirt pits, each three feet deep, where students will dig for remnants of Native American civilizations, the Gold Rush era, Chinese camps and the turn of the century.
A staff archaeologist will teach students how to do soil sampling and use the scientific method to uncover artifacts donated by other museums. Back at school, students will give oral presentations on the artifacts, she said.
"It's so important that we can give these kids practical knowledge," said Stacey McKinley, who chairs the museum's government committee. "They really have to put their hands in it. Then they'll believe in it and fight for it."
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Delta King's Pilot House Restaurant
1000 Front Street / 441-4440Situated on the third deck of the historic Delta King riverboat, the Pilothouse provides spectacular views, with seating indoors or out. Here, you will savor local California farm-fresh cuisine.
Joe's Crab Shack
1210 Front Street / 553-4249If you're looking for a casual, fun Sacramento River dining experience, Joe's Crab Shack will fit the bill. With buckets of crab and dancing servers, you're sure to have a good time at Joe's. Indoor and outdoor seating available.
Rio City Café
1110 Front Street / 442-8226Rio City Café, situated in historic Old Sacramento overlooking the Sacramento River, offers California Cuisine with influences from all over the world and extra emphasis on the southwest. Indoor and outdoor dining available.
Tower Bridge Bistro
100 Capitol Mall / 326-5050Located inside the Embassy Suites Hotel adjacent to Old Sacramento, the Tower Bridge Bistro offers California-Tuscan cuisine in a scenic setting. Both Indoor and patio seating are available.
Riverfront Bike Trails
Located at the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers, Downtown Sacramento provides bicycle access to the riverfront. Cyclists can access the northbound/southbound bike trail along the Sacramento River via O Street or in Old Sacramento on Front Street between L and I streets. The southbound trail will lead you to the Miller Park. The Northbound trail will lead you towards Richards Boulevard, Discovery Park and the 23-mile American River Parkway that stretches from downtown to Folsom.
Sacramento Region 511
American River Parkway
On a summer day in Sacramento, one of the best places to be is on the water. From personal watercrafts to guided boat tours and charters, the scenic Sacramento River has what you need for a little fun in the sun.
This city park is located right on the Sacramento River, just south of Downtown. The park includes picnic areas shaded by large oak trees, boat trailer parking, a boat ramp and dock. For more information call 808-5200 or visit the City of Sacramento website here.
In cooperation with the City of West Sacramento across the river, the City of Sacramento is working to expand access to Sacramento's namesake river. Currently on the Sacramento side, visitors can walk along the waterfront from O Street to I Street through Old Sacramento. On the West Sacramento side, visitors can catch some of the best views of the downtown skyline by visiting Waterfront Park between the Tower Bridge and the I Street Bridge.
Information provided by Downtown Sacramento Partnership
Monday, October 19, 2009
The Sacramento Community Theater has been in use for 35 years and has not upgraded since it’s opening in 1974. The Theater still hosts world-class events but a renovation is needed by adding additional restrooms, concessions, lobby space, and infrastructure to meet the needed of and expectations of today’s audiences and clients. On Tuesday the 20th, the City Council/Financing Authority will accept the current Community Center Theater Renovation Project conceptual design and issue a Request for Qualifications for architectural services to complete the design work. A contract for construction could begin as early as June 2011 and continue work through the summer. The Theater will remain open for each theatrical season (Sept. through June) but closed during the summer months with heavy construction taking place spreading construction over multiple years through the summer of 2014.
The current renovation will re-configure some existing spaces and add approximately 15,000 new square feet to the building. The total costs of the project are estimated at $40 million with $34 million towards construction and $6 million for design costs.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Published in the Sacramento Business Journal
Nacht & Lewis Architects and HOK have been chosen to design a new courthouse in Sacramento, the Judicial Council of California’s Administrative Office of the Courts announced Friday.
The $500 million project is scheduled to start in 2012, though no location has been set.
The new courthouse would take pressure off the overcrowded Gordon D. Schaber Courthouse on 9th Street in downtown Sacramento. The plans call for building 35 courtrooms in the new facility. Twenty-six of the 44 criminal courtrooms at the existing courthouse would be relocated to the new facility.
The new courthouse will be funded under Senate Bill 1407, which was passed by the Legislature last year and established a lease-revenue bond fund of up to $5 billion to rebuild courthouses in California.
Nacht & Lewis was founded in Sacramento in 1922 by Leonard Starks. The company’s portfolio includes the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Sacramento and the Sacramento County Jail.
HOK is an international design firm founded in 1955 by George Hellmuth, Gyo Obata and George Kassabaum.
It would appear that we might see a nice looking tower with both N&L and HOK working on this one. Sacramento's Federal Courthouse is a nice addition to our skyline, but I don't understand why they chose to ignore the northern side facing the Railyards but make the southern side stunning with the curved glass and interesting detail near the top of the tower. Sacramento architecture in the last ten years has focused on making the southern facing side of a high-rise striking while forgetting to give the same treatment to the northern side. I was once told “It is a fallacy to assume that good design has to be expensive” and in this case there is no excuse for not making this building impressive.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Sacramento Bee - Bob Shallit
Another planned midtown condo and rental project has hit a now-familiar snag: no financing.
Last summer, a partnership headed by Sacramento architect/developer David Mogavero was selected by the Capitol Area Development Authority to build a complex at 16th and P streets. The project's innovative features included a dorm-like rental annex and a hydraulic-stack parking system.
But the partnership "came up against a brick wall" in terms of getting capital, Mogavero says.
Now, CADA's board is asking Mogavero's group and two other developers who were project finalists to revise their proposals and try to find financing.
"We're saying, 'Let's start over and let all three get a shot at it,' " says Tom Kigar, CADA's development director.
The three including D&S Development and SKK Developments have until Dec. 20 to submit new plans and get commitments from lenders.
Kigar says CADA's preference is still to have a for-sale housing component in the project. But he says the group's board is being flexible.
"If somebody comes up with rentals that would be converted to ownership later, that would be acceptable," he says.
Bay Miry, a representative for D&S, says flexibility could help. But it may not be enough, given the dismal financing climate.
"Every bank we talk to says they haven't made a construction loan in a year and a half," he says.
Friday, October 09, 2009
5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Cosmopolitan Cabaret Theatre
1000 K Street (10th & K Streets)
Mayor Johnson has embarked on an effort to reposition the Downtown Plaza as a sustainable regional center and further capitalize on Downtown's strengths. He wants to hear priorities from community stakeholders about the future of the Plaza and the surrounding J, K, and L streets. The result will be a vision to help guide the area's future development.
You are encouraged to attend the community meeting to learn more about the process and share your valued opinions for the future of Downtown Sacramento!
If you have any questions or want to learn more about this process, contact R.E. Graswich, Special Assistant to the Mayor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
The K Street Streetscape Improvement project is one of the key components in returning K Street Mall back to a lively and inviting pedestrian street. Today I walked by St. Rose of Lima Park section and saw a lot of progress in the renovation. One part I’m thrilled to see is that Sacramento has final embraced some in-ground water fountains that people will able to play in during the summer as well as just watch the fun display of water dancing. The master plan also calls for the RT platform station on K Street to be moved around the corner to 7th street in an effort to move loiters off K Street. These phase one improvements of St. Rose of Lima Park and K Street between 7th & 8th Streets will cost around $4 million and be paid for by Merged Downtown Redevelopment tax increment funds.
At this point, I would really like to see the city focus on getting housing built downtown which I believe will spur other developments like a grocery stores and other retail that the area is also lacking. To do this the City Council could make a new provision when handing out subsides, and that only projects that include housing can be eligible for city subsidies. Also, asking for subsidies has become a common request by developers these days. This could start the ball rolling (even if it’s in small numbers) to get more people living here. These streetscape improvements should do wonders in how the street looks and I look forward to being able to sit back and watch the dancing water while new life returns to K Street.
Sunday, October 04, 2009
The proposed Docks project nested between Interstate 5 and the Sacramento River, will be heard by the City Planning Commission on the 8th for a motion to pass the rezoning for future urban development consistent with the 2030 General Plan. City Staff will also recommend that Option B to be chosen in how the 29 acres are developed which including 1,000 residential units, 200,000 square feet of office space, and 43,300 square feet of retail space. A formal recommendation for Option B will be made the City Planning Commission next month and then the City Council for approval in December. Option B was determined to be the most cost effective plan to retain Pioneer Reservoir and build the park over the reconstructed roof. The plan proposes constructing a parking facilities underground and elevate the finished floor of the buildings to be level with the existing levee, so the natural feature of the Sacramento River will be visible to the tenants in the future buildings and to area visitors.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
2009 Presidio Co., proposal
Bob Shallit reporting today that the Marshall Hotel at 7th & L St. has a buyer and plans to build a 14 story "W"-style boutique hotel in the future. The plan is to get all needed entitlements lined up so that it will be shovel-ready when the times right to start building. As seen in the posted renderings above, the plans call for retaining two exterior sides of the 98-year-old, five-story Marshall building and incorporating them into a stepped, 14-story structure.
I love the idea of combining the old building with a new structure so that the project becomes feasible to build, but these renderings make the tower addition look tacky without even tiring to blend the old and new structure. The developer Presidio Co., need to take a queue from the previous Grand Heritage Group proposal of 2007 who proposed a similar concept but did a much nicer job designing the tower addition. The 2007 proposal fell through because of the credit crunch, but their execution to blend old with new was excellent.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
On Wednesday the 16th, CADA will go before the Planning and Design Review Committee to request a review and comment in the form of advisory knowing they are exempt from having to do so. This 9 story, 110 unit project with approximately 5,000 square feet of ground floor retail has had some minor changes with the balconies being reduced and some variation in color, finish, and materials to break up the appearance of the cement composite panels.
It’s great more housing will soon be built but I think this final design looks blah lacking innovation with little to no character so as not to offend those on the street. It’s to bad the previous 15 story residential tower approved by the Design Commission was scraped by CADA last year.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Friday, September 04, 2009
And just to add some pressure to the $136 million project, the city is working on a concurrent request for proposals for other developers to submit plans for what they can do with the land, which will be released at the end of November if Leach’s plan doesn’t work out.
In addition to racing the deadline to tie up financing, the city also wants Leach to tie in the façade of the adjoining Bel-Vue Apartments — a 99-year-old structure — into his parking garage.
Printed in this weeks Sacramento Business Journal
Well is this a surprise? It appears to me that the city is not thrilled with Bob Leach's proposal and is open to other plans in how this land can be used. I'm sure a hand full of developers are getting lined up for a $31 million subsidy. I'm also certain they will do a better job of using the Bel-Vue facade than attaching it to a parking garage. Good luck Bob.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Last night the Sacramento City Council discussed the future of the proposed 23 story hotel and parking garage at 8th & K/L St. by developer Bob Leach/USA Hospitality. The last time Mr. Leach was to appear before the Council two weeks ago, he asked for a delay because his proposal was going to be slammed over the financing for the proposal. This time he came back to the council offering 40% of cash flow instead of 10% over 10 years and asking for 50% of the Transient Occupancy Tax rebate over 14 years instead of 100% over 10 years. USA Hospitality’s now asking for $31.5 million subsidy from the city in an effort to make this project feasible. After a few council members made their opinions known about keeping the façade of the Bel-Vue by incorporating it into the hotel project, the council agreed to a 90 day extension to see if USA Hospitality can pull things together and make this project work.
It looks as though the 90 day extension may have ended Tony Giannoni hopes to also build a 165-room hotel at 10th & K Street. A spokesman on behalf of Mr. Giannoni told the council that if they gave a 90 day extension to the 8th & K St. hotel proposal, they would see that as a sign to drop their project because the market could not support both projects. If after 90 days the USA Hospitality’s bid gets rejected by the council and the other proposal at 10th & K has already withdrawn their plans… we could be left with no new hotels on K Street.
This project still has to go through the Design Review Commission and Planning Commission as a part of the entitlement process. If this current design with the separate parking garage manages to be approved by both the Planning Commission and Design Review Commission, it will demonstrate in my opinion that neither the Commissions or the City Council really understand their roll in helping both designers and developers comprehend the rich context of this unique place in our city.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
In my previous post, I listed several reasons why the city council and Mayor should not rubber stamp the project without major changes in how parking is treated. This seems to be the proposals worst feature, six floors of open, visible parking that destroys a whole city corner in doing so. Back in 1990, Lankford and Cook’s built 1201 K Street building (Ban Roll On) as seen below. Above the first floor there are five floors of parking that are covered and disguised so that it doe’s not detract from the building outer visage by tucking it into the structure. In doing this, the design shows concern for its impact on the street level and truly helps that tower feel inviting when walking up to it on the street.
Here are email address to both the City Council and Mayor. If you also feel the same way about this project, please let our officials know. A hand full of voices on this matter might empower our city’s bully pulpit to have a back bone on this more often.
Mayor Kevin Johnson - email@example.com
Ray Tretheway - firstname.lastname@example.org
Sandy Sheedy - email@example.com
Steve Cohn - SCohn@cityofsacramento.org
Robert Fong - RKFong@cityofsacramento.org
Lauren Hammond - LHammond@cityofsacramento.org
Kevin McCarthy - KMcCarty@cityofsacramento.org
Robbie Waters - firstname.lastname@example.org
BonniePannell - email@example.com
Saturday, August 08, 2009
On Tuesday the 11th the city council will hear a pitch from developer Bob Leach to build a 409-room hotel on K Street. The proposal also includes a six story parking garage on the corner of 8th & L Street with future expansion of three stories of residential to be built on top of it later. This $136 million hotel project asking for $34 million in city subsidies, $14 million land donation plus $20 million in future tax forgiveness. This current proposal sounds similar to nearly every other proposal in downtown that can't be built unless millions are given to a developer in handouts from the government. Bob Leach has also teamed up with downtown businessman Mohammed “Moe” Mohanna on this proposal where last year he lost a law suite against the city for this same 8th & K St. property. This happen when Moe’s balked at an agreed apon property swap after a fire and then subsequent demolition of one of his properties.
The list is long in how may developments in downtown Sacramento have needed subsidies before they can even lift a shovel. It’s now become the status quo for nearly all projects in downtown to be built this way and I think it's absurd to pay no taxes when everyone else has to pay them. I also personally hate the idea of this parking garage even if a couple retail stores are to be included in the structure. The eight story parking garage at 8th & J St. has two retail shops on the ground floor but is a far cry from actually improving a dead zone created from the parking structure. There are numerus ways to tuck needed parking into the structure like has been done with many other towers in Sacramento. I think this proposal will look about the same as the 8th & J St. garage and will also cheapen a unique corner in the central city.
Here’s a Google street view photo of the garage at 8th & J Street that was built twenty years ago. It has two retail shops on J Street but you can hardly tell being that all you see is a lifeless structure.
Our city deserve something better, I hope our city council and Mayor also feel the same.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Today the Sacramento City Council authorized negotiations on the proposed Sacramento Museum of History, Science and Technology and reuse of the Jibboom Street Power Station Site. The Council also entering into a second extension and exclusive right to negotiate with SMHST for a period of one year which were similar terms as the prior agreements.
It's the City desires to use preservation and adaptive reuse of the old Power Station, as well as add amenities to the adjacent Robert T. Matsui Waterfront Park. The SMHST proposes building the "Powerhouse Science Center" on the site, which will include a science, space and technology museum in the rehabilitated Power Station, with an adjacent restaurant and educational center, a planetarium, and an inviting open public park area. The new riverfront complex includes four floors of exhibit space within the historic building, a new digital planetarium theater, classrooms, Challenger Learning Center, riverfront restaurant and special events center.
The City Council has also agreed to transfer $200,000 from the River District Redevelopment Tax Increment funds to the Richards Blvd. Capitol Improvement Project with matching fund for the Powerhouse Science Center to be used on predevelopment activities that include architectural fees, engineering studies, environmental studies, and entitlement fees. The Science centers seeking $10 million in federal funds, $10 million in city and county, and $10 million from the state in addition to monies from foundations and private donations.
Dreyfuss & Blackford Architects
Developer: Carson Development Company
Science Center: 42,000 sq ft
Learning Center: 5,000 sq ft
Restaurant & Conf. Center: 14,000 sq ft
Sunday, July 26, 2009
This Tuesday the 28th, City Council will vote to authorize construction of the new Greyhound Terminal Building on Richards Blvd. The plan is to have Greyhound terminal moved by April 1, 2012 when the lease at its current location (703 L Street) expires. There is also the possibility that relocation may need to occur sooner if the landlord at 703 L Street exercises its right to an early termination of the current lease. The City Council also plans to suspend the traditional process of competitive bidding for building design because it could extend the project completion time beyond Greyhound's lease expiration date.
Money to pay for this project will come from the cities General Fund (Fund 1001) when city staff return in the fall of 2009 with a recommendation to award the final professional services agreement for architectural design services. Staff will then proceed with the competitive process in selecting a qualified contractor to build the new terminal. The chosen contractor will assist the architect in scoping and designing a constructible facility within the project budget.
On December 12, 2006, City Council authorizing the purchase of 300 Richards Boulevard, which included several adjacent vacant parcels, City staff approached Greyhound to determine if the Richards Boulevard site was feasible for its needs until the Sacramento Intermodal Transportation Facility is ready for occupancy. Greyhound's review determined that the site would adequately accommodate its operations.
May 20, 2008, City Council committing $2 million for required site work including grading, utilities, sidewalks, curbs and gutters and the extension of the driveway off of Richards Boulevard to Bannon Street. The balance of the necessary funds ($4 million) will come from Sheraton Hotel sale proceeds earmarked for downtown redevelopment projects.
February 24, 2009, City Council approved the lease agreement with Greyhound and the Mitigation Monitoring Plan for the 420 Richards Boulevard site improvement.
Work is anticipated to begin on site during summer 2010 with completion at the end of 2011.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Today it’s being reported that the developers of a residential and retail project at 19th and Broadway are close to being shovel ready and starting demolition work on the site's existing buildings as early as October. Last week Millennium Real Estate Services reported getting a $25 million commitment from Evanston Financial in addition to the $4.4 million in state Proposition 1C funding.
147,000 sf. Mix-Use project
7,734 sf. Retail
17,628 sf. Office
11 live/work lofts
This is one project I really did not expect to see get off the ground any time soon… but I’ll believe it when I see it.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Last week the city council approved Station 65 located at the corner of Folsom Blvd. and 65th Street. It looks as though some gap financing issues still need to be worked out as well as the relocation of the bus station while construction occurs possibly next year.
$120 Million to build
148 Hotel Rooms
100 Residential Rental Units
63,000 sf. Retail and Restaurant
52,000 sf. Offices
30,000 sf. Fitness Center
615 Stall Parking Garage
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Process & Timeline
April – August 2009
Chapter Writing for Specific Plan
Special Planning District Update
Historic Resources Survey
September 2009 - Infrastructure Finance Plan – Public Review
October 2009 - Public Draft EIR
January - 2010 Final EIR
Jan-Feb 2010 Public Hearings
Vision & Guiding Principles
- Maximize Connectivity –North/South and East/West.
- Create a Sense of Place.
- Encourage Sustainable Development.
- Build Infrastructure that Provides a Balanced Approach to Regional Traffic Issues.
- Stimulate Economic Growth.
- Provide a Variety of Urban Living Options.
- Support regional strategies that seek to improve social conditions
- Encourage Mixed-Use Development.
- Provide Enhanced Community Facilities and Amenities.
- Engage the Rivers and Foster Open Space Opportunities.
- Create a Walkable District.
Circled is Township 9 - 52 acre development approved August 2007
- Specific Plan will include the following:
- Land Use Plan and Zoning with Heights
- Circulation Plan
- Infrastructure / Public Facilities
- Financing Plan
- Nexus Study (Downtown/Railyards/River District Costs)
- Program Level Environmental Impact Report Design Guidelines (Central City Urban Design Guidelines)
Sunday, July 12, 2009
The Third Saturday Design Downtown street fair will take place once a month and be a creative block party centered on 10th and K streets featuring artists, craft vendors, live music, food, drinks, a beer garden and more. And it’s all free! E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!
When: Sat, 7/18, 3pm
Where: 10th and K streets
A Touch of Color Inc.
Arts and Business Council
Fancy Foury Paws
J n J Design
Marty May Press and Stitchery
Meshugga Chic Vintage
Never Felt Better by Jen
Pack Rat Crafts/ From the Heart Designs
Penny's Lane Polymer Clay
Rag and Paper Designs by Gloria Grandy
Robin’s Nest Clothing
Wandering Mind Designs
Wee Sew Cute
Friday, July 10, 2009
The track relocation design effort under TranSystems will sprint into final design following NEPA completion. Bridge plans at 65% prepared by Quincy Engineering, Inc. in collaboration with Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. for the 5th Street and the 6th Street overpasses over future tracks south of the historic shops have been reviewed and approved by the City. Monitoring of surcharge piles impact on underlying soils at the location of the 5th Street bridge abutments is being conducted by F3 and Associates, Inc. under the supervision of Quincy Engineering and Blackburn Consulting. Preparation to drive indicator piles for bridge foundations is also underway. Teichert Construction has completed the first grading phase on Railyards Boulevard between Bercut Drive and 7th Street. Import of soil for vegetative cover continues by Taylor Heavy Hauling under the supervision of Environmental Resources Management. The amount and pace of infrastructure will accelerate as infrastructure bond dollars are received.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Jibboom Street Park will act as destination attraction along the existing Sacramento River Parkway bicycle trail that connects Old Sacramento to Discovery Park. The project is being developed in phases, with the first phase completed. The landscaping, open turf area, walkways and benches, and promenade with lighting opened in Autumn 2006.
Jibboom Street Park Phase One developed 6.5 acres of the site surrounding the former PG&E building and extends to the recently completed Sacramento River Intake Facility to the south.
The existing river levee has expanded eastward, with earth fill added to the existing levee to widen it and bring part of the park site to the existing levee height. This visually reduces the scale of the new intake structure and enhance views of the Sacramento River along many locations in the park. An arc-shaped pedestrian walkway crosses the site and links the plaza at the new Sacramento River Intake Structure to a smaller pedestrian overlook at the former water intake pier. Interpretive signage is placed at the small pedestrian overlook at the former intake pier. The area between the levee and the pedestrian walkway creates a "River Green" open space area planted with native grasses, trees and vegetation so visitors can picnic, rest and enjoy views of the river. Other items included in the initial park development are site security lighting, non-mow landscaped berms to screen freeway traffic noise and low maintenance landscape plantings.
Another major feature for the proposed second phase of development is a large group picnic area with shade structures, picnic tables, group grill and site furniture, along with a parking lot. Future development of the project would include rehabilitation of the historic building for a commercial and/or community use, and could involve development of a conference center or restaurant with a terrace overlooking the Sacramento River.
Thursday, July 02, 2009
East End Gateway Site 4
SE corner 16th & P Street
Developer: MNA Management, Inc. / Foothill Partners
Architect: Mogavero Notestine Associates
Unit Count: 40 condominiums and 8 to 12 rental co-op rooms
Retail Space: 5,560 sq. ft.
Estimated Development Costs: $12,400,000
Projected Construction Period: Late 2011 to Mid 2013
Key Milestones: Developer to provide Financing Plan: August 15, 2009
CADA and Developer enter into Exclusive Negotiating Agreement subject to CADA Board approval of Financing Plan: September 18, 2009
East End Gateway Site 2 & 3
Location: Site 2: NW corner of 16th and O Streets Site 3: SW corner of 16th and O Streets
Developer: Ravel Rasmussen Properties and Separovich/Domich Real Estate
Architect: Stantec Architecture
Unit Count: 60
Retail Space: Site 2: 5,781 sq. ft. Site 3: 7,137 sq.ft.
Estimated Development Costs: Site 2: $9,300,000 Site 3: To be determined
Projected Construction Period: Late 2009 to mid 2010
Upcoming Milestones: July 15, 2009 - Developer to close on the property and start construction.
Status: CADA and Developer have entered into a Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA) effective as of January 25, 2008. The DDA was amended on January 30, 2009 requiring the Developer to close on the site and start construction by July 15, 2009.
The City Building Department has approved the construction drawings and is prepared to issue a building permit pending payment of fees by the Developer.
East End Gateway Site 1
Location: NW corner of 16th and N Streets
Developer: Em Johnson Interest, Inc & Nehemiah Community Reinvestment Fund Holdings, Inc.
Architect: Devrouax & Purnell & LDA Architects
Unit Count: 98
Retail Space: Approximately 6,000 square feet oriented along 16th Street
Estimated Development Costs: $37,000,000
Projected Construction Period: Demolition starts: October 2010
Construction ends: February 2012
Upcoming Milestones: Developer submits conceptual design to CADA – 9-09 Stakeholder design presentations – 10-09 Planning Commission and Design Review Commission reviews (tent.) – 9-09 CADA Board review of conceptual design – 10-09 ENA expires – 4-10
Status: CADA and Developer have entered into a an a one-year Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) with the Developer on April 17, 2009. The ENA may be extended by up to one additional year by the CADA Board, if needed.
During the ENA period, the developer will be refining the conceptual design, securing a construction financing letter of commitment, and negotiating the terms and conditions of a Development and Disposition Agreement (DDA) with CADA. CADA and the developer will be presenting the conceptual design to key institutional and community stakeholders and stakeholder groups. CADA will be completing an environmental review of the project.
A DDA normally is executed at the end of the ENA period. During the DDA period, the developer will complete the construction documents, secure the building permit, and take title to the site in preparation for construction.
Construction is scheduled to begin in October 2010.