Wednesday, February 25, 2009

$550 Million for New Sacramento County Courthouse

Today on the Ninth Street steps of the Gordon D. Schaber Courthouse, Assemblyman Dave Jones unveiled a new deal for Sacramento County to build a courthouse expected to cost $550 million. The new site of the building has not chosen yet but court officials would like it to be on the site of the two-story parking lot across Eight Street from the existing facility. It would house 35 to 49 new courtrooms for criminal proceedings. Funds to build the new court house will come out of the $5 billion lease revenue bond that was enacted buy the legislature last year.

$550 million is alot of money…here's the costs of some other local State projects and what we got for the money.

Federal Courthouse, 6th and I Streets
Project Description: Construction of a 16-story, 380,000 sf office building forthe United States Federal Courts. 19 courtrooms.
Total Project Cost: $134 million
Date of Completion: 1999

State of California East End Project, 15th and Capitol Mall
Project Description: Construction of 1,470,000 gross sf of office and retail.Approx. $4.2 million was allocated for housing, preservation, lighting and park enhancements.
Total Project Cost: $392 million
Date of Completion: 2003

Cal EPA Building, 10th and I Streets
Project Description: Construction of a 25-story, 765,000 sf office building forthe California Environmental Protection Agency. The building houses approximately 3,500 employees.
Total Project Cost: $170 million
Date of Completion: 2000

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Five Hundred Capitol Mall

Last Friday I was invited to go up into 500 Capitol Mall (The Bank of the West Tower) and get a few photos of the 4-story lobby off Capitol Mall and the shared 25th and Penthouse windows at the top floors. The building is currently experimenting with interior lighting in the lobby and soon the pinnacle at the top of the tower. By mid-March exterior lighting facing Capitol Mall will be turned on to really making the building stand out.

Click on picture to enlarge

Friday, February 13, 2009

La Valentina Station

This project consists of developing several vacant lots into a four story structure, 63 apartments, 7 live/work apartments, 6 commercial spaces, and 63 parking spaces. The building is adjacent to the light rail station located along the north edge of the site. Contemporary in design the project uses a large amount of fiber cement board oriented as a horizontal rain screen along the fa├žade of the North building and vertically as the main finish material. Cement plaster is proposed as a secondary material on the building. Fiberglass windows and doors have been proposed for durability and efficiency in lieu of vinyl. Water jet cut Corten steel railings are proposed at the south building as a decorative element. The project has been designed to incorporate sustainable design techniques including passive solar design, photovoltaic systems, a green roof area, and vegetated swales along the rear property line.

The project will require Planning Commission approval of entitlements for Environmental, Special Permit to allow reduction in required parking, Special Permit to allow building to exceed maximum height allowed by the zone, Special Permit to allow gated development, variance to reduce interior side setback, variance to allow compact stalls to exceed a maximum of 40%, variance to allow a roof structure to exceed the maximum allowable height. The Planning Commission is scheduled to hear this project on March 12, 2009 for final action.

Friday, February 06, 2009

When $30M isn’t enough

The issue: Westfield is planning to expand the downtown mall / Our position: A $30 million investment is not enough to make the mall vibrant

Sacramento Business Journal
Friday, February 6, 2009

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has been criticized for his fast-moving actions and forward-looking goals, from an effort to establish a strong mayor form of government to hiring an out-of-state firm to look at money-saving options for the city facing a possible $50 million shortfall.

But almost anyone who has cruised through the central city would applaud the mayor’s hard-line stance on the Westfield Downtown Plaza. The center — a collection of brand-name retailers, mom-and-pop shops and numerous empty storefronts — has been a disappointment for the past several years.

Now, the Westfield Group, one of the nation’s best-known and largest shopping center owners, has announced an expansion and face-lift for the open-air mall. Company executives are sharing few details or a timeline for the multimillion-dollar project.

But community leaders and downtown executives say the project will cost about $30 million, a paltry amount compared to the Westfield Galleria at Roseville.

“We’re not going to be satisfied with a modest investment,” Johnson said during the State of Downtown breakfast Jan. 22.

Neither will we. We also won’t be satisfied with a half-hearted investment that does little more than push retailers around the center like a 4-year-old who hates the peas on his plate.

Sure, the food court will move from the west side of the center, near the movie theater, to the east side. New retailers are being courted to open in the former food court space, though national chain Target has canceled plans to open in the mall. And Westfield wants to improve the light and visibility in the shopping center. All are much-needed improvements to the shopping center.
But it’s not nearly enough.

The center, which has more retailers leaving than opening, is an anchor in downtown. And not in a good way. The city has announced an aggressive effort to address K Street mall, a collection of badly damaged buildings and many closed shops, to help jump-start development on the several blocks between the Sacramento Convention Center and Westfield Downtown Plaza.

Downtown Plaza also desperately deserves attention from city officials and downtown leaders. Without some much-needed prodding and tough love, many residents will hate going to the center that will become nothing more than an extension of K Street’s woes.

The Westfield Group invested about $270 million at the Westfield Galleria at Roseville. That’s big-time dollars, but, to be fair, the center continues to exceed expectations with high-end retailers and high-income shoppers.

We cannot ask for, let alone expect, a comparable investment at the downtown mall, which caters more to blue-collar and state workers, and generates about half as much sales-tax revenue as Arden Fair. But the current plan for the downtown center fails to generate excitement about the project.

Certainly, the cash-strapped city needs to set aside some dollars for the downtown center’s expansion and face-lift, but Westfield also needs to detail much-larger plans than its modest project. Otherwise, the city — and community — will be investing money in a still often-overlooked shopping center.

Link to article