Our Downtown rebirth begins!
ESC: Entertainment And Sports Complex: Demolition/Traffic/Parking
Remember Gottschalks? More recently known as Macy’s Men’s store? That part of the K Street Mall will soon to be a hole in the ground. Plans are afoot to begin the serious demolition of the eastern 2/3rds of the K Street Mall. Initial preparation work has begun. The wrecking ball arrives soon and we may see action there before the end of July.
There is just one catch to that timetable; the city still does not own the land (and sky above) at the old Macy’s Men’s. The “Special Servicer” that has control of that property has not relinquished control despite the city winning their eminent domain lawsuit. And that’s because the second phase of that suit, how much are the land/air rights worth, has not been resolved. Yet.
The lead contractor who is building the ESC (Turner Construction) is working with the City to minimize disruption to the downtown businesses, pedestrians and traffic. It’s a major construction site so there will be disruptions – but the contractor and city are working on a plan so that disruptions will be periodic – in waves rather than constant commotion.
Parking losses. The public entrance to the underground parking lot at L street will be the first to be closed, probably fairly soon. This will be followed by the lot entrance on J Street (just past 5th street) and the entrance on 7th street too. Mall employees with monthly parking passes were notified some time ago about alternative parking sites.
Lane closures on J and L Streets? A mini Fix 50? Actually no. Per the plans I’ve heard about there will be some re-shifting of lanes but J Street will continue to be 4 lanes at all times. At least one pedestrian walk will be relocated, the one at 5th and J will be moved to 6th and J. L Street will also continue to have 3 lanes at all times. About 13 L Street parking spaces will be eliminated for the duration of the ESC construction to make way for the lanes that will be shifted. 5th street however, will lose one lane. This street has one of the lightest volumes of any downtown street and the lane given up will be dedicated to trucks entering and exiting the constructions site. If you’ve headed south on 29th Street during the recent construction of Sutter Hospital’s major expansion and seen the lane shift there, then you have an idea of how it will work.