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wburg Jun 22, 2007 6:23 PM

Sacramento Preservation/Adaptive Reuse Projects
I thought I would start a thread on preservation and adaptive reuse projects, partially as a way to update on projects that fall under that category but also as a way to avoid going too far off-topic on other threads that discuss specific projects.

Here's a link to the City of Sacramento's Preservation project list:

And to the Preservation Commission's hearing schedule and minutes:

As mentioned elsewhere, historic preservation can mean maintenance and restoration of existing historic structures, adaptive reuse of a structure, or restoration of other sorts of artifacts like vehicles or even things like sidewalks and street surfaces. It can apply to whole neighborhoods, or to individual structures.

As to why I think this belongs on a forum like, here are some words by a real estate developer, Donovan Rypkema:

wburg Jun 22, 2007 6:24 PM


Historic Preservation Is Smart Growth

By Donovan Rypkema

On March 3, 1999, at the National Audubon Society of New York’s Conference on Smart Growth, Mr. Donovan Rypkema gave the following speech on the economical benefits of historic preservation.

I suspect for many of you "historic preservation" is the local group of retired librarians writing letters to the editor and struggling to raise funds to save the mansions of the local rich, dead, white guy. Well thank God for those activists, those letters to the editor, those fund-raising events, and even for those rich, dead guys, because the properties that have been saved are an important component of understanding ourselves as people and constitute an irreplaceable collection of the art of architecture that has been created in our country's relatively short history.

But that part of historic preservation-saving old mansions-represents an insignificant percentage of preservation activists today. In fact, in the last two decades, historic preservation has moved from an activity whose goal was an end in itself-save old buildings in order to save old buildings-to a broad based, multifaceted group of activities that uses our built heritage not as an end in itself, but as a means to broader and, frankly, more important ends. Here in New York State that has meant historic preservation as a means for downtown revitalization, neighborhood stabilization, attraction for tourism, job creation, film industry production, small town revitalization, affordable housing, luxury housing, education, transportation, and others. Saturday at the annual meeting of the Preservation League of New York State we are releasing the results of a study conducted over the past year identifying the multitude of ways that historic preservation contributes to the economy of the state of New York.

But I'm not here today to talk about mansions or about economic development. I'm here to suggest that historic preservation, in and of itself, is one of the most important tools in the entire Smart Growth movement. I'll title my remarks, "Twenty Reasons in Twelve Minutes why Historic Preservation IS Smart Growth." And here, in on particular order, are those reasons:

Reason One: Public Infrastructure. Almost without exception historic buildings are where public infrastructure already exists. No new water lines, sewer lines, streets, curbs, gutters required. That's Smart Growth.

Reason Two: Municipalities need financial resources if they are going to grow smart. Vacant, unused, and underused historic buildings brought back, to life are also brought back as tax generating assets for a community. That's Smart Growth.

Reason Three: New activities-residential, retail, office, manufacturing-in historic buildings inherently reinforce the viability of public transportation. That's Smart Growth.

Reason Four: If we are to expect citizens to use their cars less, and use their feet more, then the physical environment within which they live, work, shop and play needs to have a pedestrian rather than vehicular orientation. That's Smart Growth.

Reason Five: Another element in the drive to encourage human movement by means other than the automobile is the interconnection of uses. Based on the foolishness of post World War 11 planning and development patterns, uses have been sharply separated. Historic neighborhoods were built from the beginning with a mix of uses in close proximity. Cities with the foresight to readjust their zoning ordinances to encourage integration of uses are seeing that interconnectivity reemerging in historic areas. That's Smart Growth.

Reason Six: As a strong proponent of economic development, I am certainly glad the phrase is Smart Growth as opposed to no growth. Smart Growth suggests that growth has positive benefits and I would agree that is true. At the same time we cannot say we are having Smart Growth regardless of how well it is physically planned-if at the same time we are abandoning existing assets. The encouraged reinvestment in historic areas in and of itself revitalizes and revalues the nearby existing investment of both the public and private sectors. That's Smart Growth.

Reason Seven: We see periodic headlines about some real or imagined "Back to the City" movement. Certainly people moving back to the core of a town or city of any size have a positive impact on a whole range of environmental goals. Well, across America, and in many places here in New York State, people are indeed moving "back to the city." But almost nowhere is it back to the city in general. In nearly every instance it is back to the historic neighborhoods and historic buildings within the city. We need to pay attention to market patterns, and if it is back to historic neighborhoods to which people are moving, we need to keep those neighborhoods viable for that to happen. That's Smart Growth.

Reason Eight: Smart Growth ought to imply not just physical growth but economic growth. And economic growth means new jobs. But who is creating the new jobs in America? Not General Motors, or IBM, or Kodak. Eighty-five percent of all new jobs in America are created by small businesses. And for most small businesses there are few costs that are controllable, but there is one: occupancy. Barring massive public subsidies, you cannot build new and rent cheap. Older and historic buildings often provide the affordable rent that allows small businesses to get started. That's Smart Growth.

Reason Nine: Business districts are sustainably successful where there is a diversity of businesses. And that diverse business mix requires a diverse range of rental rates. Only in downtowns and older commercial neighborhoods is there such diversity. Try finding any rental-rate diversity in the regional shopping center or the so-called office park. There ain't none. Older business districts with their diverse rents are Smart Growth.

Reason Ten: Smart Growth ought to be about jobs. Let me distinguish new construction from rehabilitation in terms of creating jobs. As a general rule new construction is 50 percent labor and 50 percent materials. Rehabilitation, on the other hand, is 60 to 70 percent labor. While we buy an HVAC system from Ohio, sheetrock from Texas and timber from Oregon, we buy services of the carpenter and plumber, painter and electrician from across the street. They subsequently spend that paycheck for a hair cut, membership in the local Y and a new car, resulting in a significantly greater local economic impact dollar for dollar than new construction. The rehabilitation of older structures is Smart Growth.

Reason Eleven: Solid waste landfill is expensive in both dollars and environmental quality. Sixty to 65 percent of most landfill sites are made up of construction debris. And much of that waste comes from the razing of existing structures. Preserving instead of demolishing our inventory of historic buildings reduces that construction waste. Preserving instead of demolishing our inventory of historic buildings is Smart Growth.

Reason Twelve: Its critics have pointed out that so-called New Urbanism is neither new nor urban. But I don't think anyone here could dispute that in most instances, at least. New Urbanist development is fully compatible with the goals of Smart Growth. I would argue that New Urbanism reflects good urban design principles. But those principles have already been at work for a century or more in our historic neighborhoods. The sensitive renewal of those neighborhoods is Smart Growth. So are you starting to get the picture? Let me be briefer with the rest of the list.

Reason Thirteen: Smart Growth advocates a density of use. Historic residential and commercial neighborhoods are built to be dense.

Reason Fourteen: Historic buildings themselves are not liabilities as often seen by public and private sector demolition advocates, but are assets not yet returned to productive use.

Reason Fifteen: The rehabilitation of older and historic neighborhoods is putting jobs wherethe workers already are.

Reason Sixteen: Around the country historic preservation is the one form of economic development that is simultaneously community development.

Reason Seventeen: Reinvigorating historic neighborhoods reinforces existing schools and allows them to recapture their important educational, social and cultural role on a neighborhood level.

Reason Eighteen: No new land is consumed when rehabilitating a historic building.

Reason Nineteen: The diversity of housing sites, qualities, styles and characteristics of historic neighborhoods stands in sharp contrast to the monolithic character of current subdivisions. The diversity of housing options means a diversity of human beings who can live in historic neighborhoods.

Reason Twenty: Historic preservation constitutes a demand-side approach to Smart Growth. I'm not at all opposed to acquiring greenbelts around cities or development rights on agricultural properties. Those are certainly important and valuable tools in a comprehensive Smart Growth strategy. But they only reduce the supply of land to be developed; they do not address the demand for the new use of that land. The conversion of a historic warehouse into 40 residential units reduces the demand for ten acres of farmland. The economic revitalization of Main Street reduces the demand for another strip center. The restoration of an empty 1920s skyscraper reduces the demand for another glass and chrome building at the office park. Again, I don't mean to be remotely critical of supply side strategies, but without demand side responses their successes will be limited at best.

Finally, I think most of you would acknowledge that Maryland is among the states leading the way in creating comprehensive Smart Growth policies. Many of you are probably familiar with the publication, Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation: A Legacy for Our Children, which enumerates 47 specific policy initiatives to encourage Smart Growth. I went through the entire list, and here's what I found: of the 47 initiatives, historic preservation was a key component in 32 of them. But even more importantly, if communities had a strong historic preservation strategy, the goals of 44 of the 47 initiatives are automatically met. Historic Preservation IS Smart Growth. For years activists in the historic preservation movement have said, "We need to get closer to the environmentalists. They've been successful in raising public consciousness about the issues, and getting legislation put into place to advance those aims." I have no quarrel with that strategy. But I would suggest to you, environmentalists, that your strong support for historic preservation in your communities would, in and of itself, significantly advance your environmental goals. Further, I would suggest that a Smart Growth approach that does not include historic preservation high on the agenda is not only missing a valuable strategy, but, like the historic buildings themselves, an irreplaceable one.

Donovan Rypkema is principal of Place Economics, a Washington, D.C. based economic development consulting firm. Permission to reprint the text to this address was granted by Mr. Rypkema.

kryptos Jun 22, 2007 6:31 PM

wasnt it preservationists who were trying to stop the towers from being built due to its proposed height?

ozone Jun 22, 2007 7:35 PM


Originally Posted by kryptos (Post 2913154)
wasnt it preservationists who were trying to stop the towers from being built due to its proposed height?

Stop right there. We've already been down that road on another thread. Old, boring.

innov8 Jun 22, 2007 8:49 PM


Originally Posted by kryptos (Post 2913154)
wasnt it preservationists who were trying to stop the towers from being built due to its proposed height?

Yes, his name is Dan Visnich of the Historic Preservation Society.

ozone, if you don't like a subject, please just ignore it and move on to view another thead :tup:

wburg Jun 22, 2007 8:58 PM

The purpose here is not to discuss "preservationists" (which seems to be a wide-ranging, catch-all phrase which includes city staff, local neighborhood associations, and anyone who doesn't want any project to happen for any reason, and seems to also be interchangeable with "NIMBYs") but rather preservation-oriented projects.

While the Railyards has its own thread, there are plenty of smaller projects, like the recently-completed condos in the Mechanics Exchange building in Old Sacramento, Globe Mills, the "Suzie Burger" at 29th and P, the winery planned for the old antiques store on 21st and P, the Ice Blocks project at Crystal Ice, and so on. I think people here may have ideas about potential adaptive reuse sites, like the Kress Building, the D.O. Mills Bank, the Maydestone, the Bel-Vue, and other underutilized but historic and potentially useful structures.

innov8: What is this "Historic Preservation Society"? I'm not familiar with it.

innov8 Jun 22, 2007 9:07 PM

I guess you did not read my post of three days ago

This is the guy and group that was the Stop The Towers campaign.

The Historic Preservation Society had a web site up last time I looked
(6 months or so ago) but it now appears to have vanished. "Menacing the
Dome" was a phrase used by these guys concerning highrises built within
5 or 6 blocks of the Capitol.

A quick google search will find you this, news papers loved to quote this guy.

Capital's skyline is growing up soon

Living the Luxe Life
Downtown Towers Lure Top Dogs

The California State Capitol: A Cast-Iron Classic Taken for Granite

I assure you there are more where these came from.

wburg Jun 22, 2007 9:59 PM

I read the post but I had not heard of Visnich or this "California Capitol Historic Preservation Society." It sounds like he didn't accomplish anything, for good or ill, from what I read in those articles and a little Google searching, other than get his name in the papers, and then it seems like they portrayed him as the lone crank standing in the way of progress. The last link you provided is an article by him, on the history of the Capitol itself, which is actually a decent article, although I'm not sure how much I agree with his decription of the eastern annex (which destroyed the original apse) as "neo-fascist."

The article does illustrate a point I mentioned earlier about buildings like the Old City Hall: Buildings do change and evolve over time, and part of the challenge of preservation and restoration is choosing a particular point of restoration. If one hopes for official recognition (historic building designation, etc.) or historic-preservation funding enhancements, then choosing a consistent period, and often backdating later changes, is even more important.

ozone Jun 22, 2007 10:09 PM

innov8 -huh? I wasn't talking about the this thread but rather kryptos's post which is just bound to repeat the debate wev'e been having on another thread. Jeesh pick on someone else -it's boring me.

wburg Jun 26, 2007 8:02 PM

The City Council will vote on whether to approve a loan to AF Evans Development to purchase the Berry Hotel.

AF Evans is a developer of low-income and market-rate housing. Locally they run the Ping Yuen apartments (in the Chinatown on I Street) and also operate some historic SRO type properties including the Hotel Oakland.

The plan is to keep the units very low income and extremely low income, but to renovate and repair the structure of the hotel. New plumbing will be needed throughout the building, and kitchenettes will be added to each unit. The building will be reduced from 115 to 100 units, to make room for a number of larger wheelchair-accessible units. Because the city's current SRO ordinance requires replacement of any lost units, 15 units of the under-construction Globe Mills housing project (currently slated for part seniors, part market rate) will become VLI (very low income, <$25K/yr) instead. A case manager will provide supportive services for the residents with disabilities.

The current retail tenants will not be displaced, although personally I hope they get rid of the convenience store and make it back into a lobby/public space. Happily "the Big Kahuna" won't be going anywhere!

In my mind this is a big, big win. The building will be restored and protected (it's in awful shape now) and a professional management company and a decent building is really the main differences between an SRO that is a safe haven for disabled and seniors and one that is a drug-infested den. AF Evans has a good track record. Importantly, this renovation will mean that those housing units are still available.

Cynikal Jun 26, 2007 8:19 PM

Thanks for the info on this Wburg. I was unaware of the SRO project and I'm very glad to hear that it is being handled in a positive way.

sugit Jun 26, 2007 8:33 PM

Here is another interesting project at 12th and C, kitty corner to the Globe Mills. I really like the brick of those current buildings, but I'm not too big on the 2nd floor addition. Looks...weird.

Twelve - Sacramento, CA
TWELVE is an urban infill project located in the Alkali Flat neighborhood district, complimented by Sacramento's Regional Transit (RT) system with a station located within 1,500 feet of the project. TWELVE is comprised of 10 single-family town home residences (1,289 SF +/- up to 1,631 SF +/-), 30 lofts (803 SF +/- up to 2,163 SF +/-), and 1,000 +/- square feet of retail space on the ground floor

Twelve - Sacramento, CAEntering downtown from the up and coming Del Paso area, 12th Street is the main connector street, which downtown will eventually develop towards. TWELVE is born out of a one-building historical district that is driving the creative vision for the project. By keeping the exterior of the building and adding atop of it, TWELVE is going to present a strong architectural statement in the downtown Sacramento area.

Carlton Randle is the Project Manager of the TWELVE. Carlton can be reached at (916) 364-0279 EXT 113.

wburg Jun 26, 2007 8:45 PM

I can see what they're trying to do (recreate an industrial saw-tooth type structure) but agree that it isn't necessarily a super duper way of doing it. All in all, though, I tend to like very much the idea of retaining the brick first story and building up in the middle, as it keeps the old-building feel while bumping the density.

Globe Mills is pretty spiff too...I got a tour last year as part of a historic preservation conference and got some neat shots of the lovely industrial interior. One of my favorite things about that project is that they are leaving a lot of the industrial equipment in the site, intact: at some points you'll just be walking down a hall and there will be this giant electric motor or part of a hoist sticking out of the ceiling.

wburg Jun 27, 2007 5:36 PM

Here are some shots I took with my (cruddy) phone camera during a tour of Globe Mills last year:
The open portions of the building near the front. They were ravaged by an out of control fire, but the structure was built to be strong enough to withstand dust explosions. The wood beams in the floor were so sturdy that they are simply having the char scraped off and the old-growth wood will be reused in the project. The pipes in the lower photo help prop up a weakened wall.
Some industrial machinery in the plant: the pulley/shaft system was connected to a big electric motor. As mentioned above, a lot of the heavy mechanical gear will be left in place, to become chunky decor for the residence.
A couple of shots out of windows into Alkali Flat and towards downtown.
A shot towards the dairy.
Don't open. This door opens out into...nothing, seven stories up. Ouch.

innov8 Jun 27, 2007 6:09 PM

^ Do you mean Globe Mills 12th & C streets

wburg Jun 27, 2007 6:40 PM

The same. Edited post-coffee.

wburg Jul 17, 2007 12:24 AM

It looks like the graffiti is coming off the side of the Cal-Western Building/Citizen Hotel. They bolted this exterior elevator thing to the east side and scrubbed off the black paint on that side--hopefully the north side will soon get a similar treatment.

The owners of the building have planned a big metal enclosure on the eastern side, intended to completely enclose an "outdoor" patio area, kind of like the "terrarium" you see outside of 24 hour restaurants. This would block off the sidewalk, requiring an expansion of the existing sidewalk that would eliminate parking along that bit of Tenth Street.

sugit Jul 17, 2007 1:54 AM

Here is a look at what they have planned. Depending on the materials they use, it could blend into the classic look of the building well. It does stick out a bit, which could be odd.

I do like how it looks like it would really open up the building from the outside and give people driving by on 10th a chance to get a look inside when passing.

goldcntry Jul 17, 2007 4:07 PM

:tomato: I like it!! :tomato:

wburg Jul 17, 2007 4:10 PM

Not really, because they wouldn't be demo-ing the pillars along that wall, otherwise you'd be destroying the architectural (if not structural) integrity of the east side of the building. I also wonder about the effect on the underground sidewalks along Tenth Street: they have been demo'ing a lot of sidewalk in the neighborhood and it's unclear whether they will just be backfilling those or protecting them.

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