Saturday, August 08, 2009

8th & K Hotel $34M Subsidy

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.


The Guerilla said...

I agree that the separate parking garage is terrible design. What a waste of great space! Razing street corner potential with parking garages is a terrible idea and some of these developers are strangely too stupid to even see that. No on this building, unless they can tuck that garage into it.

PS- Have you heard anything else about the alley activation project? It also goes before city council tonight.

Zwahlen Images said...

Yes, there was a story about Alley Activation in the Sac Press on the 2nd.

The ideas exciting… but in my opinion it should be paid for with private money. The city is in no position now or the near future to pay for this while city services are being cut and they're asking the community to help maintain parks.

Jeffrey said...

If they add 3 stories of residential above the parking garage, it might not be so bad. Maybe it will still be a strange street corner, but not lifeless. Are the developers really planning to add the residential though? They should include it in the proposal or not mention it at all.

Zwahlen Images said...

Jeffrey, here's a Residence Inn that Marriott built on top of an existing downtown parking garage in Minneapolis.

Sacramento can do better if we force them to exercise some quality control and insisting that developers try harder. Tucking the garage in the tower should be the rule and not the exception.

gilli said...

Do you really expect that something better will get developed on this property? Do you prefer the current state of this property over this proposed development? It seems you are dreaming that Sacramento is something that it is not. Face the truth......the current state of Downtown Sacramento requires that in order for developments to occur, city subsidies are necessary. Furthermore, if you make the developers "try harder" the projects will not be feasible and Downtown Sacramento and K St. will remain in their dilapidated, embarrassing state (i.e. designing a parking garage into the building will inflate the cost of this project to where it will be unfeasible). 3 stories of residential above the parking garage is great! That would be a precedence for this town. This project WILL bring people to this area which may assist in future developments not requiring subsidies. This may be the catalyst K St needs. The years continue to go by without anything positive happening to this blighted street. Please don't jeopardize it.

P.s. - a club with mermaids swimming in the wall is not positive! It's minor league. (no offense David Taylor, I'm very thankful for what you've done for this city, you're latest office tower on Capitol Mall is great!).

P.s. - Has anyone ripped the design of the latest highrise office built downtown - 500 Capitol Mall? Talk about a cheap, boring, ill-proportioned, 80's looking building. How did that get approved? What is that triangular fin at the top? Why is this architect continually allowed to blemish this relatively empty canvass of a skyline??? I thought the stucco pyramid was bad.

Zwahlen Images said...

I have to disagree with you Gilli. Yes, I do think something better (design wise) with this project can be built here. Your assumption Gilli is that Sacramento should always accept whatever’s offered because well… were Sacramento. But at the same time we hear repeatedly that our city has so many great attributes and it’s time we make this great city even better. Part of being a better city is having great architecture which with this proposal looses lots of points for with the separate garage. I’m not buying your argument on cost either, why is it that 300 Capitol Mall, 400 Capitol Mall, 500 Capitol Mall, 621 Capitol Mall, 1201 K Street, 1211 K St, 801 K St, as well as several other towers 18 stories or taller downtown can build with the garage tucked into the structure but this hotel can’t? It had nothing to do making the project unfeasible or it would not have been done before in Sacramento. I can think of at least 10 high-rises in Sacramento that have parking inserted into the structure, so don’t tell me it’s not feasible.

If voicing my opinion on a blog jeopardizes this hotel project, then the proposal was never that great to begin with. The developers asking for $34 Million in subsidies, so also asking the developer to “try harder” with its design by following the cities urban design guide lines and inserting parking into the tower should be a no brainer.

gilli said...

Adding, let's say, 5 floors of parking garage within an existing highrise hotel eliminates potentially 7 floors of hotel rooms (parking garage floor to floor heights are typically taller than hotel room floor to floor heights). Therefore to gain back the 7 lost floors of rooms you have to build the structure 7 stories higher. This requires a substantially taller structure which requires beefier structure throughout and a much more costly foundation system. Or it requires losing 7 floors of income generating hotel rooms. I still think, realistically, it would be a tough sell for any developer to make this work.

Are there any high-rise hotels in Sacramento with parking built into the structure? Even in cities such as San Francisco and NYC I think it's rare to see a high rise hotel with parking integral to the hotel structure. Usually if there is parking, it is subgrade and that's even more unfeasible. Maybe they should also consider a retail component to the parking structure along with residential? Would that help?

Zwahlen Images said...

Gilli: please read my above post where I listed 10 addresses downtown where parking was built into the structure. And your premise that hotel rooms would be lost is also wrong. The developer has a half block to work with, so the parking can be spread out over the entire half block above the lobby and ground floor retail but below the rooms. If the developer decided to do this instead, the proposal would actually be shorter but the curb appearance would be far nicer.

You sure are pumping this design, are you working for Bob?