Friday, December 12, 2014

Flooding at the Arena Site

Panoramic photo of arena site looking north

Construction was halted midday Thursday because of the intense rainstorm.

Panoramic photo of arena site looking east

Thursday, December 04, 2014

26-Story High-Rise Planned

Proposed 26 story high-rise at 601 J Street 

If I did not know better, it's been feeling like 2006 all over again. Lots of big plans, and when I say lots, I mean way beyond what the city can absorb. But I digress. Last week Vanir Development Co. Inc. submitted plans to the city for a 26-story office tower (377 feet tall) on J Street across the street from the planned downtown arena and hotel. The Sacramento Bee reports that it’s a class A office building and hold 372,000 square feet of office space.

As much as I love the idea of a high-rise and more construction in downtown, this one does not make sense to me. According to
Colliers-Sacramento, there is over 1 million sf of vacant office space in (CBD) and 2 million in downtown. That's the size of four 25 story office buildings. Unless Vanir Development Co. Inc. plans to build on speculation like 500 Capitol Mall did, I don’t see how this will pencil out? At one time 621 Capitol Mall was proposed at 31 floors, but for 6 years developer David Taylor could not find enough tenants to fill it so banks could loan him the money to build. A certain percentage of square feet in a tower need to be leased out before monies are released to build. So Taylor shortened the tower to 25 floors so that it could meet loan requirements with the tenants he had already secured over a six year period. 

What’s interesting about this site is that the current building at the proposed site has been empty since 2009. Bank of the West moved to 500 Capitol Mall when their lease was not renewed and were told a high-rise was being planned for the site. The timing did not work out and the site has been sitting empty ever since. Here’s what they had in mind back then... Link

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Marshall Hotel Renovation

Proposed Marshall Hotel renovation

In a move to transform and upgrade the Marshall Hotel on L Street, renderings have been released showing a piss poor attempt to make it attractive combining both the old and new. The developer Presidio Cos. said it hopes to start construction sometime next fall of the 130 hotel rooms, topped by 10 to 15 apartments or condominiums.

Proposed Marshall Hotel renovation

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

"Downtown Plaza Tower"

Official rendering have been released courtesy of Rios Clementi Half Studios showing more detail and green space planned for the proposed arena tower. The project, tentatively titled "Downtown Plaza Tower," is planned to have 250 hotels rooms, 69 upscale apartments, 35,000 square feet of office space and 45,000 square feet of retail space.

Proposed Downtown Plaza Tower

Proposed Downtown Plaza Tower
Proposed Downtown Plaza Tower

Thursday, November 20, 2014

$300 Million Courthouse

Vague rendering of proposed Sacramento Criminal Courthouse
across the street from the Federal Courthouse on "I" Street

The budget to build a New Sacramento Criminal Courthouse has been reduced to $300 million from it's original budget of $552 million five years ago. The size of the project has also been reduce from a 16-story mid-rise to now a 12-story building and from 44 courtrooms to 35. Somehow with all the reductions of cost, the square footage of 405,500 has remained the same.

The State of California has allocated $27 million for drawings and planning required for construction.

The groundbreaking is expected for the fall of 2017, with completion by 2020.
Vague rendering of proposed Sacramento Criminal Courthouse 

Monday, November 10, 2014

16-Story Mixed-Use High-Rise

The Sacramento Kings  have proposed a 16-story mixed use high-rise next to the new arena that is currently under construction. The plan has the tower facing J Street, between 5th and 6th Streets. The Sacramento Bee reports that the first four floors of the building will be made of a grand lobby, retail space, offices and hotel amenities. There will be 250 rooms and 69 residences filling the top five floors. The Kings have asked for a city Planning Commission hearing to discuss the plans on Dec. 11 and are seeking to have the necessary permits approved early next year.

Read more here:
Proposed 16-story hotel between 5th and 6th Streets on J Street.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Time lapse Video of Downtown Plaza Demolition

On Wednesday the Sacramento Kings officially kicked off construction of their $477million downtown arena with plans to have it ready for the 2016-17 season. The Sacramento Bee has a great time lapse video showing demolition of the former Downtown Plaza from July through October 2014. 

Time lapse Video of Downtown Plaza Demolition 4:48.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Former Downtown Plaza

Panoramic photo from L Street at the former Downtown Plaza 10-12-2014
At an amazing pace, the Downtown Plaza is all but torn down. You can now easily see buildings on J Street while standing on L Street where the mall use to be.

Please click on the photo to view the image larger.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

700 K Project to Move Ahead

Last night the Sacramento City Council approved a pair of unanimous votes on the financing plan that would allow the 700 K project to move ahead. As stated in the SacramentoBusiness Journal, D&S Development and CFY Development, have said with some financing approvals for tax credits and bond allocations expected in December, construction on the project of apartments and retail should get underway in early 2016.

700 K would have 137 apartments, both affordable and market rate, in a building behind a row of existing retail spaces, totaling 75,000 square feet and up to 14 different businesses. Under the financing plan, developers will repay the city of Sacramento some money being loaned up front that the city would turn around and use to help other hoped-for projects in the downtown core surrounding the new arena site. The total cost of the project is estimated to be from $35.5 million to about $47.7 million.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Future Sacramento County Courthouse

After nearly a two year pause, the Sacramento courthouse proposal planned for the railyards at the corner of where H Street meets Sixths Street appears to be moving forward again. This week, the State of California bought 2.4 acres for $10 million. According to the Sacramento Business Journal, Court officials have estimated the cost to design and built a courthouse at $452 million, plans call for a 12-story building of 405,000 square feet, with 250 parking spaces and a basement.

The courthouse won’t get built for some time, but the judicial council gave authority this summer to begin working on legislation to appropriate money for courthouse design, but such legislation still needs to be approved by both the council and the state Legislature. In addition, the State has selected two firms to team up on building design, Nacht & Lewis and HOK. 

Property where Sacramento will build a $452 million courthouse.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Downtown Plaza Demolition

Downtown Plaza Demolition

In a matter of 54 days, the corner of L and 5th Streets has been leveled and it looks as if prep work for the new arenas foundation have begun. That orange square in the lower left of the photo looks as if a tower crane might rise from there?

The above photo is a screenshot of a livecam you can view here: 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

20,000-seat Stadium Plan

Sacramento Republic's proposed MLS stadium

Sacramento’s soccer franchise, Republic FC, announced plans yesterday to build a 20,000-seat stadium in the city’s downtown railyard.  And how would it be paid for? Questions remain over how the stadium will be financed. Mayor Kevin Johnson has said no city money will be used to help build the facility. Kevin Nagle, the lead investor in the expansion bid has said the Republic FC investor group will have the capacity to pay for the stadium, plus a league expansion fee of at least $70 million. No city money to help build the facility could really mean “city money, but only to help buy the land or provide tax breaks. Will see?
Sacramento Republic's proposed MLS stadium

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

12th Street Underpass Artwork

Today the Sacramento City Council will consider approval of artworks depicted in the images above for placement on the east and west side of 12th Street underpass between North B and C Streets. The fabrication and installation of the artwork will be done by L/C Mural and Design, Inc. for $5000.00.

Sacramento City Council AGENDA

Friday, August 29, 2014

Downtown Plaza Demolition

 They are wasting no time tearing through walls of Downtown Plaza. Please click on panoramic photos to enlarge.

Downtown Plaza Demolition panoramic photo 8-29-2014

Downtown Plaza Demolition 8-29-2014

Downtown Plaza Demolition 8-29-2014

Downtown Plaza Demolition 8-29-2014

Downtown Plaza Demolition 8-29-2014

Downtown Plaza Demolition 8-29-2014

Downtown Plaza Demolition 8-29-2014

Downtown Plaza Demolition 8-29-2014

Downtown Plaza Demolition 8-29-2014
Downtown Plaza Demolition panoramic photo 8-29-2014

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Whole Foods Market Proposal

Proposed Whole Foods Market at 2001 L Street
Whole Foods Markets has proposed a mixed-use project on L Street in midtown. The project is not expected to break ground in 2016. The project includes 40,000-square-foot Whole Foods store on the ground floor as well as two floors of parking and four floors of rental apartments at 2001 L Street.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Friday, August 01, 2014

Downtown Plaza Demolition

Downtown Plaza, Sacramento, CA

This morning about 60 Turner Construction workers gathered at Downtown Plaza to officially start demolition work making way for a new arena. As reported by the Sacramento Business Journal, relatively little work will be visible for the first few weeks and the first buildings will actually start coming in down in two to three weeks. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

McKinley Village

McKinley Village

Site grading is still on track to begin within the next few weeks with the first homes to be built next year. With a total of 336 homes and an investment of nearly $135 million, this project will turn what has been an orchard and grassy area into suburban style development in the central city.

By contrast, the Centrage project proposed in the late 1980’s planned over 1 million square feet of high-density office, commercial, and residential uses, including 19 story office towers, a 20 story hotel, and 1,000 residential units costing $350 million. I think Sacramento once again missed an opportunity when this was rejected by the City Council shortly after the city’s Planning Commission voted 6-3 to support the project as well as the environmental community.

Centrage Project proposed for the current McKinley Village site in 1988

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Capitol View Protection

Sacramento, CA - Capitol View Protection

Sometimes it’s good to review a little Sacramento history so as to better understand why the skyline seems to be mediocre at best. Although many proposed towers were never built because of economic conditions, many other high-rise proposals were limited in scale and canceled due to elected officials imposing height restrictions more than a year after developers started getting entitlements for their projects.

Back in 1991, both Mayor Anne Rudin and Sacramento Assemblyman Lloyd Connelly pursued an ordinance to limit height and protect the Capitol. At the time the City imposed the restrictions known as the Capitol View Protection, it ended up wiping out a total of three high-rise proposals, one by developer Giannoni at 14th & L Street at 19 stories and another by Benvenuti at 15th and K Street to be 14 stories, and the Hallmark Tower at 502’. The new law at the time limited all building to ten stories or 135’. All three buildings would have been too tall and blocked the Capitol view. At the time, councilmember’s said “they were committed to smaller buildings around the perimeter of the entire park” which discouraged the developers who started getting entitlements for their projects a year prior to the new law. All three towers were canceled out of frustration and uncertainty as to what the City might do to further scale down their projects.

The R Street Corridor also suffered a similar fate in the late 1980’s killing six high-rise proposals

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Exceptional Opportunity

1118 - 1128 7th Street, Sacramento, Ca 95814

Ladies and Gentlemen, do I hear $3.5 million dollars, now $3.5 million, now $3.5, will you give me $3.6 million? Don’t worry about how much you’re spending, the cashier is keeping track for you. This site at 1118 - 1128 7th Street adjacent to the arena projects is up for sale for a yet to be announced price. My inquires with the listing agency have not been returned so I'm guessing here. In 2005, 1128 7th Street sold for $3 million, so selling both 1118 and 1128 together next to the new arena should fetch a nice figure.

How could any investor not jump on this opportunity?

Going once, going twice, sold?
1118 - 1128 7th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814 - Potential future hotel,
residential or mixed-use site 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Capitol Square Lemon

Capitol Square - 450 N Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

If there was ever a reason to demolish a high-rise in downtown, Capitol Square can certainly make the case. After being constructed only 21 years ago, $70 million has already been spent to repair all its ongoing mold growth, falling windows and other serious problems that have plagued the building. This 24 story tower was originally built by CalPERS in 1993 for $79 million, so spending nearly that much to fix its ongoing problems should be recognized as a reason to tear it down.  

The state bought Capitol Square from CalPERS who originally financed the high-rise in 2006 with the Board of Equalization occupying the entire tower with around 2000 employees. The sick building started showing signs of trouble back in 1998 with water infiltration. Costs to make repairs are now over $70 million and an additional $159 million could be spent over the next few years.

Currently moving through the State legislature, Assembly Bill 1656 would authorize the state to move forward with a site selection for the new headquarters, but the appropriation would need to be revisited by the Legislature and would not be made until the 2015-16 or 2016-17 fiscal year. In addition, it looks like nothing will change for Board of Equalization for at least 4 or 5 years while the scope of work is developed and construction documents, with repairs to the wastewater and decorative glass expected to take about three years to complete.

Whether or not the state decides to relocate the employees, it still must pay for the property’s bond debt service through 2021. The cost of that debt is currently $77 million.

Just last week a $50 million claim hit BOE over mold-related illness. On a good note... oh wait, there are none.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Township Nine

Residents at Cannery Place Apartments will move in this September.
View down 7th Street.
Looking south from the levee.

The Township 9 project is a mixed-use development in the Richards Boulevard Redevelopment Area. 2,500 housing units are planned in addition to 840,000 square feet of office space, and 145,000 square feet of urban retail. Residents at Cannery Place Apartments will move in this September! Township Nine is a 65-acre mixed-use development  costing around 2 billion dollars and take approximately 10 years to complete.


Monday, July 07, 2014

i15 Complex

i15, a mixed-use project of eight stories at 1431 I St.,

D&S Development is planning to construct the i15 complex at the corner of 15th & I streets, at the site of a former auto repair shop. The 80-unit building will include rooftop terrace with views of the downtown skyline and two floors of penthouse-style, multi-level units. The ground floor of the building is slated to include about 3,400 square feet of retail. The i15 project still in early stage.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Lofty Proposals

Sacramento Skyline
I'd like to say that downtown development is on the rise, proposals emerging every other week for high-rise housing and other wise anticipating that the market will continue to improve. Some believe this is all due to the arena being built on K Street while others see the overall market coming back and the economy will prosper for years to come.

Over the years, a trend I have keep my eye on during several economic cycles is how downtown Sacramento is always late getting major projects started before the economic cycle busts. Many big projects never getting past the proposal stage. While many cities had projects rising out of the ground, Sacramento’s proposals were still on the drawing board when the market started to tank. In the last three economic cycles, Sacramento seemed to be 1 ½ years behind getting projects started before the economy dipped into recession compared to other cities. While most other cities reaped the benefits of getting out of the gates early with their projects while the economy was good, Sacramento was still on the sidelines.

The 2008 recession left eight sizeable projects on the drawing boards and many small projects. A few of the large were Metropolitan, Aura, Epic, Capitol Grand, St. Anton, Towers on Capitol Mall, 700i, and the second Capitol Towers proposal.  The 1990 recession left even more high-rise proposals on the drawing board than I listed above including the first Capitol Towers proposal.

If the current (sluggish) economic cycle softens even more and the Fed continues to reins in its monthly QE3 printing of money, and other factors, it’s likely that many of the current proposals won't move beyond the drawing board. The first quarter of this year saw GDP shrink by -2.9%. It’s anticipated that the Feds will raise interest rates in the First Quarter of 2015. It’s fun to cheer these proposals through the process, but I’m highly cautious as to how many proposals will break ground only because of where we are in the current economic cycle.

If Sacramento sees half the current proposals completed, I would count that as an enormous success. I’m glad to see the arena being built downtown, but I’m highly skeptical about the city’s financing numbers and why they still don’t want to talk about it… like when the bond payment rate nearly doubles in a few years.

Regarding 301 Capitol Mall, my contact within CalPERS say we should not expect to see a proposal for the site for at least 12 to 16 months because of uncertainty about the economy. If the latest press release from a few months ago draws enough positive attention, we might see combination of sectors in the proposal that include office, residential, retail or hospitality. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Sac Valley Station Renovations

Sac Valley Station

Scheduled to begin late Summer, the historic Sacramento Valley Station renovation will expand the availability of transit options as well as offer a mix of retail and business uses at the station. Currently the 7th busiest train station in the nation, some improvements slated to take place at the historic station include new bicycle facilities for storage and bike rental, architectural lighting of the south facade and major public spaces, and upgraded ticketing machines.

Inside the historic facility, the City will be creating a livelier atmosphere, with new office space, new dining terraces, landscaped seating areas, and decorative artwork.

The renovation is funded by a federal grant and local Measure A sales tax.

This project is scheduled to be complete in 2016, the 90th anniversary of the station’s opening.

$10.5M Structural Repairs to Depot – completed in fall 2013. $30M Historic Renovation of Depot -design underway, completion by late 2014/early 2015.

For more project details, visit Sacramento Valley-Station .

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Warehouse Artist Lofts

The WAL projects expected to be completed in late 2014. This $41 million project continues to build upon the industrial district historical past and supported by the Sacramento art community. When CADA’s WAL is finished, it will have 116 housing units, rooftop deck and 13,000 sf of ground floor retail.  The WarehouseArtist Lofts (WAL) (11th & R Streets)
The Warehouse Artist Lofts - 1108 R Street, Sacramento CA

The Warehouse Artist Lofts - 1108 R Street, Sacramento CA

The Warehouse Artist Lofts - 1108 R Street, Sacramento CA

The Warehouse Artist Lofts - 1108 R Street, Sacramento CA

The Warehouse Artist Lofts - 1108 R Street, Sacramento CA

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

WX Freeway Bright Underbelly

Conceived by local arts, a mural project called Bright Underbelly could transform the underside of the W/X freeway with a sprawling sky-blue canopy, bringing new life to the blank concrete surface that looms above where thousands gather every Sunday for the Sacramento Central Farmers’ Market. Renderings of the ambitious 70,000-square-foot piece were released this morning. To paint the mural, approximately $150,000 in financial pledges necessary to bring the mural to fruition.

Information about the Bright Underbelly project and available donor levels can be found at, and you can keep tabs on the project's progress at its new Facebook page.