Sactown Urban Update

Sactown Urban Update

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sacramento’s Community Center & Theater District, (CC&T) “the ugly, the bad and the good?” [Part two of two]

Making Urban Living more livable. 

The Community Center & Theater is currently underutilized and as the DT core gets re-invigorated, CC&T will get further out of step with the times.  Some of Sacramento’s business leaders have been considering alternatives for the CC&T.  Part one looked at the options of 1) make do and, 2) look for a new site.  This post looks at the “make over” alternative.

A MAKE OVER – SCRAPE verses SCRAP (the good?)  (Part two of two)
There are proposals being considered to “Repurpose” the existing Community Center and Theater to better meet current and emerging demand.  A Scrape verses Scrap discussion.  Why scrap (get rid of it) what we have when we can scrape (remove a layer or so) and rebuild anew?  There are (at least) three ways to go (and it’s all about the best bang for the buck, really).

THE MINIMUM.  One approach is to do the minimum by updating the interiors and addressing the ADA issues which apparently are mostly around the exterior of these properties.  But this approach will not address the current and future missing potential of improving bookings and revenues.

REFURBISH.  Another idea, a bit more assertive, is to refurbish the existing buildings, including addressing ADA issues, and add a larger exhibit space/ballroom to accommodate larger events; perhaps something dramatic like adding this grand room on top of the existing theater with great westward views of the capital and Downtown!

REBUILD/REPURPOSE. But a really aggressive, (enlightened?) approach calls for a major do-over.  Scrape off the old and build in its place a newer, multi-use facility.  The technology is out there to turn the CC&T into a state of the art center where many alternative floor plans can be created, giving the facility the ability to host several small events or one large one.  There’s nothing like this yet in the US, but Europe has several very fine examples of what can be done to make a public asset a more flexible and productive one.  Of course, newer technology comes with a price so this approach will cost more than other methods being considered and may mean that theater productions need to be relocated or eliminated during part of what is imagined to be a 3 or 4 year renovation.

There’s a lot to think about but business leaders and the Mayor’s Task Force are working on these ideas; and I hope they keep their eye on the prize(s): keeping in step with the times, improving the CC&T’s connection to Downtown and Midtown, and making urban living more livable!

NEXT UP: What’s being done about the SRO issue?  (Perhaps more than you think)

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