Friday, May 22, 2009

R Street vision refined, except for financing

Sacramento Business Journal
Friday, May 22, 2009

With restaurants and loft projects planned or under way on R Street west of 15th Street, the second phase of the corridor’s transformation has begun, with the city of Sacramento soliciting ideas for a public plaza in one of the more desolate stretches in town.

The two-block span of R Street between 16th and 18th streets, located near light-rail lines, now functions largely as an alleyway with some side parking. It is bordered by vacant lots and the empty Crystal Ice building as well as other buildings along a route to the Safeway grocery in midtown.

The city is looking at the plaza as a place for public art, planters and other amenities that would reshape the space with brick paving or interlocking concrete.

According to a description of the project provided by the city, details are getting more refined.

“Travel lane and pedestrian pavement will be large alternating bands of warm, earth tone colored and natural concrete,” the description says.

The challenge for the cash-strapped city is paying for it all. There is partial funding for design, and city workers are attempting to find funding for construction. The cost for street improvements west of 16th Street was about $4.5 million.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Renaissance Tower 20 Year Anniversary

Back in 1989 twenty years ago, Sacramento completed a landmark structure that engulfed many of the nondescript low-rises strung around downtown and became the first high-rise to reach past the 20th floor becoming the cities tallest. Many locals like to refer to the building as “Darth Vader” because of its menacing shape and dark color. This tinted-glass high-rise was originally proposed at 25 floors but was amended to be 28 floors, which put the tower 160 feet above the Capitol dome. With much applause and hope, city leaders at the time expected the Renaissance Tower to represent a rebirth of downtown and K Street. At 372ft tall, this was the cities tallest building constructed during the 1980's. This gem-shaped tower at the corner of 8th and K streets was counted upon to help revitalize the downtown mall and bring badly needed jobs and revenue to the central city.

In 1986 Mo Mohanna sold the old Clunie Hotel site to the Benvenutis (where the 28-story Renaissance Tower now stands) and after 60 years of use and being closed since March of 1980, the hotel was demolished to make way for the new high-rise. In 1987 developer Joe Benvenuti threatened to kill construction of the tower if the Sacramento City Council voted to impose stiff fees within the R Street corridor where several other proposals by Benvenuti were also on the drawing board. The council choose not to vote on its elaborate fee proposal that was an effort to raise money for downtowns revitalization. At the time, City Councilman David Shore was eager about the proposed tower saying “I think it's going to be of immense value in cleaning up the Downtown'' while at the same time city planning officials said that it could spark a revitalization of the city's central business district.

I personally love the tower. Its gemlike shape has a nice shimmer late in the day when the suns setting and looks really impressive when storm clouds are rolling through reflecting slivers of light off the dark glass.

Architect: Daniel, Mann, Johnson, & Mendenhall (DMJM).
Developers: Joseph and Richard Benvenuti.
372 Feet Tall
28 Stories
$45 million to build.
336,000 square feet.
Ground-breaking August 24, 1987 and finished in 1989.
23,467 square feet of lobby and retail space
Seven-story parking garage with 510 spaces.
Glass-and-Granite exterior.
Last sale of tower in Jan. 08’ was just below $90 million.
The towers also know as 801 K Street and "Darth Vader" for it's shape and color.

Since the Renaissance Tower was built, ten other high-rises over 300 feet have been erected in downtown Sacramento.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Prop. 1C Applications Totaling $112 Million

SACRAMENTO ( – In an effort to further jump start the local Sacramento economy, the City of Sacramento, in conjunction with other agency partners and area developers, today submitted applications totaling more than $112 million to the State of California's Proposition 1C (Prop. 1C) Infill and Transit Oriented Development Housing Programs. These applications for eight new mixed-use and transit-oriented development projects will provide a needed boost to the local economy, will create sustainable transit-friendly development envisioned in the City*s recently adopted 2030General Plan and the SACOG's Blueprint, and support housing development for low-income families. The City will continue to aggressively seek State and Federal funding to bring development projects and jobs to Sacramento.

"Putting Sacramento back to work and spurring economic development is our top priority, and securing these funds will go a long way to making that happen," said Mayor Kevin Johnson. "This is a proactive step towards investing in infrastructure to help create a successful future for Sacramento.

Expected to be awarded by June 30, project applicants for the second round of Prop1C will create vibrant new mixed income communities with a range of housing prices and affordable rents. Specific projects that could receive the grant funding include: The Railyards; Township 9; Station 65; Crystal Ice Blocks; Capitol Lofts; La Valentina; Curtis Park Village; and the 7th & H Street project.

If awarded funding, these grants will help cover the cost of new infrastructure that will support these new developments, create thousands of new short-term construction jobs as well as new permanent jobs in the region, and will help the City realize the vision of creating development to promote a new model of smart growth in the region.

In 2006 California voters approved Proposition 1C which launched several new programs that provide funding for infrastructure that supports residential and mixed-use infill development including affordable housing. In 2008, projects in Sacramento, including the Railyards, Township 9 in the River District and Broadway Lofts at 19th and Broadway, successfully secured more than $70 million of Proposition 1C funding. This year $197 million is available statewide through the Infill Infrastructure Grant Program and an additional $95 million is available through the Transit Oriented Development Housing Program.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Sutter Medical Center Expansion

The Sutter Medical Center project has been making progress by installing exterior cladding and windows on the Sutter Medical Foundation building on 28th Street. At another construction site one block over, a deep hole is being prepared of the foundation of the Anderson Lucchetti Women's and Children's Center. This 10 story building expected to start rising out of the ground in the next six to nine months.

Anderson Lucchetti Women's and Children's Center site

Anderson Lucchetti Women's and Children's Center site

Sutter Medical Foundation building

The Sutter Medical Center urban village project includes a new Anderson Lucchetti Women's and Children's Center, renovation of Sutter General Hospital and the Sutter Cancer Center. The overall project also features 32 new residential units; neighborhood-serving retail, restaurants and commercial space; a community parking garage; a new theater complex for the B Street Theatre and the Children's Theatre of California; and partnership facility-sharing relationships with Trinity Cathedral and other project partners.

Panoramic view of construction site (hole on right is where Anderson Lucchetti Women's and Children's Center will rise and the power generator currently there will be relocated underneath the Sutter Medical Foundation Building on the left) click to enlarge.

Hard Hat Tours of the project are available. Learn more

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Sacramento Finally Makes Zagat Survey

I don't understand how the Tower Café made the list?

Sacramento Finally Makes Zagat Survey
Sacramento’s dining scene finally received recognition from Zagat, who intheir 2009 America’s Top Restaurant’s Survey included the metro for the first time.

Among the Top 20 Restaurants listed by Zagat:
Biba Restaurant
Bidwell Street Bistro
Boulevard Bistro
Firehouse Restaurant
Frank Fat’s
The Kitchen
La Bonne Soupe Café
Lemon Grass Restaurant
Osteria Fasulo
Tower Café
Tuli Bistro
The Waterboy