Sactown Urban Update

Sactown Urban Update

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Streetcars in our future? And what has that to do with DT/MT realty issues?

Downtown Sacramento business leaders have been trying to raise the awareness level of those in city hall and even some council members about the need for and benefit of a street car system that would tie West Sacramento together with Sacramento’s Downtown and perhaps (Midtown) districts and even beyond.  West Sacramento appears ready for the concept, Sacramento, not so much.  The idea is to reduce the need to build and maintain parking lots or develop parking spaces within developments.

As currently proposed (for the Sacramento side) the line would cross the Tower Bridge, then north on 3rd street, right on H street.  At 6th and 7th the line would return south to K street and at 12th Street make a loop around the blocks along 12th, L, 19th  and returning on J street west to 7th for the return trip to West Sacramento.  The coverage area now being looked at would be a starting point with later expansion perhaps connecting Broadway and the Rail yards.

Meanwhile, business leaders, and to some degree city staff, have been exploring funding methods to get a street car system built and operated that would include federal, state and local funding shares. They’re looking at options including an assessment district verses Mello-Roos, the latter would mainly affect property owners closest to the envisioned streetcar lines. Key concerns among business leaders include: the people paying the assessment should decide, not city staff; they don’t want Sac to be paying a disproportionate share; and that if the benefit doesn’t outweigh the burden then the project should not move forward.

A lot pf complex issues to work through and something of a chicken and egg problem: build a streetcar line so people will gravitate away from autos or get people downtown with new development then expand public transportation services.  Washington State’s Portland downtown development was cited as a very successful example of building the line first then the places for people to move to and live. A working group to dig into details is planned by Downtown Sacramento Partnership.

Next Up: ESC update and other news

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What's planned/proposed for Capital Towers?

Are you ready for the transformation being considered for Sacramento Commons (Currently Capital Towers)?

A developer has outlined his vision of what they’d like to see at the site – a high density, residential and mixed use live/work community.  It would include mid-rise and high rise buildings bordered by 5th, 7th, N and P streets, a transit priority area, and the developer’s goal is to retain the existing park like setting with recreational facilities on top of the buildings.

They envision a 300 room hotel plus a condominium combination on the N and 7th street side of the property but if a hotel is not feasible then that area would have all owner occupied condominiums. 
The developer has plans for more than 1400 units altogether if a hotel is built or closer to 1520 without the hotel. There would be perhaps as many as 450 condos/work spaces in midrise buildings with the balance of the housing built as market rate apartments contained in two 23 story towers.

The idea is for this development to be a transit focused property and this location would be ideal for that – right on two light rail lines in the heart of downtown, bordered by 7th and 5th streets on the east and west, and N and P streets on the north and south.  They plan to retain the tree lined park-like feel of the current development and they believe they can retain the majority of the 32 heritage trees currently on the site and mitigate for those that would need to be relocated or moved.  Parking is planned with a ratio of 1 parking space for each unit.

The project is currently working its way through the city’s Design and Review process which is expected to take until he end of 2015, with public hearings expected to be scheduled in the late summer or fall

Next up: Are streetcars your desire?  ESC Groundbreaking in about 2 weeks?