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  #1  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2007, 6:21 PM
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Sacramento Railyards - The New Downtown

As suggested by Urban:

Here is our new thread.

Railyard proposal takes new shapes
Arena and canal are out as developer adds 1-acre parks and 2,000 housing units.
By Mary Lynne Vellinga - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDT Saturday, June 2, 2007
Story appeared in METRO section, Page B1

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The developer of the downtown railyard this week unveiled a new version of its plan for the 240-acre site -- one that better connects the proposed development to the city's existing streets, and replaces a planned canal with a string of 1-acre parks.

Curving boulevards and long blocks have given way to a grid that mirrors Sacramento. City officials and community activists say the shorter blocks would be more hospitable to pedestrians.

"Before, it was much more of a suburban type subdivision with wide boulevards and cul-de-sacs," said Assistant City Manager Marty Hanneman.


The canal idea was scrapped because of concern about people falling in, and also the potential difficulty of keeping the water clean, he said.

Another 2,000 housing units were added to the plan -- bringing the total to 12,000.

A new arena for the Kings has been deleted -- at least for now -- because voters last November rejected the idea of paying for one.
The "sports and entertainment zone" contained in the last version of the plan has been turned into a "West End" district of stores, housing and a hotel.

One thing hasn't changed, however. A giant Bass Pro fishing emporium will be one of the first things built in the converted railyard. It's planned for the northwestern edge of the site closest to Interstate 5.

The evolving vision for the railyard now includes a major performing arts complex and conservatory -- dubbed the California Academy of the Arts. Developer Thomas Enterprises is working with major arts groups in town, along with California State University, Sacramento, and the University of California, Davis.

"We want to attract students from all over. We want to become the West Coast Juilliard (School)," said Richard Rich, development director for Thomas Enterprises, the Georgia-based developer that in December bought the property from Union Pacific.

Rich also is working with representatives of the city Asian American community to create a memorial -- they are now pushing for a museum -- that would document the history of Yee Fou (or Second City), the Chinese neighborhood that once bustled just south of the railyard. It also could recall the contributions of Chinese workers to building the transcontinental railroad.

The city of Sacramento plans to solicit public comment on the new plan -- which will guide development in the railyard over the next 20 years -- at a workshop Thursday, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Amtrak depot on I Street.

"We want as many people as possible to come and give us their feedback," Hanneman said.

The city took title to the depot at the same time that Thomas Enterprises bought the rest of the railyard, ending nearly 150 years of railroad ownership. The city plans to build a new transit center in the railyard, just south of the historic shops.

City leaders have adopted an aggressive timeline for getting the railroad development on track toward construction. The schedule calls for an environmental impact report to be issued by August, and for a final City Council vote on the project by fall.

"In the next six months, we're going to be moving at warp speed," Hanneman said.

Major financial hurdles remain before construction can begin, however.

Thomas Enterprises and the city are working on a financing plan they can use to cobble together the $530 million for streets, sewers, power lines and other infrastructure that will be needed in the railyard as it gradually builds out to become a major extension of downtown.

Another $300 million -- about a third of which already has been identified -- is needed for the city to build its planned multi-use transit center for trains, light rail and buses. Part of that plan is to move the historic depot about a block to the north and make it part of the new complex.

Finally, the developer also will be looking for funds to help restore the historic brick railroad shops into a public market, restaurants and entertainment venues.

The state, meanwhile, is working on its own plan to transform some of the buildings as an extension of the California State Railroad Museum that would showcase railroad technology.

City leaders and executives of Thomas Enterprises are busy meeting with politicians in the Capitol -- getting in line for money from state bonds approved last fall to help transit-oriented development.

"We're getting a lot of attention at the state level," said Thomas Enterprises Vice President Suheil Totah.

These days, as they begin the daunting task of pushing their vision toward reality, Totah and Rich are spending much of their time giving tours of the railyard, which was long shuttered and off-limits to the public.

Marj Dickinson, assistant vice chancellor of UC Davis, took a tour on Wednesday. She was charmed by the old shop buildings, a warren of 19th-century brick structures lined with arched windows and separated by narrow alleys.

"I kept wandering around looking at those buildings and saying, 'Who would ever build industrial buildings with all those wonderful arches now. They're beautiful. Aesthetically you can imagine all sorts of exciting space that just brings people in."

Last edited by BrianSac; Jun 8, 2007 at 4:32 PM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2007, 6:53 PM
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Here's a rundown and a few photos form the Downtown Sacramento Construction thread in the City Compilations forum to help get it started..

UP Railyards (Sacramento Gateway)
240 acre redevelopment includes
12,000 residential units
Low, mid and high-rise towers of up to 40 stories
3 million square feet of office space
1.3 million square feet of retail
Performing Arts Center
Arts Academy
Public market
Railroad Technology Museum
Bass Pro Shop signed letter of intent May 2006)
Developer: Thomas Enterprises (Atlanta)
Architect: Jon Jerde
Construction Status: Thomas Enterprise closed escrow on the 240 acres in December 2006.
Accelerated cleanup of contaminants over the next two years.



http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=83685
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  #3  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2007, 7:36 PM
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From the Sacramento Bee:

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  #4  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2007, 9:02 PM
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Quote:
The evolving vision for the railyard now includes a major performing arts complex and conservatory -- dubbed the California Academy of the Arts. Developer Thomas Enterprises is working with major arts groups in town, along with California State University, Sacramento, and the University of California, Davis.

"We want to attract students from all over. We want to become the West Coast Juilliard (School)," said Richard Rich, development director for Thomas Enterprises, the Georgia-based developer that in December bought the property from Union Pacific.

Rich also is working with representatives of the city Asian American community to create a memorial -- they are now pushing for a museum -- that would document the history of Yee Fou (or Second City), the Chinese neighborhood that once bustled just south of the railyard. It also could recall the contributions of Chinese workers to building the transcontinental railroad.
wow these addtions would be great
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Old Posted Jun 2, 2007, 9:54 PM
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That is some great news...I definitely hoped that there was room for some kind of educational institution in the Railyards property. Aside from satellite campuses like USC, the central city doesn't have any colleges, and it could sure use some. I'm definitely looking forward to the Railroad Technology Museum: the shops buildings are just amazing, and until those buildings are officially under State Parks' control they can't start repairing them.
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  #6  
Old Posted Jun 4, 2007, 1:53 AM
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Set the way back machine to.........

Greetings all.

I thought I'd post these photos of what the rail yard shops looked like when the Southern Pacific was still around.

The photos where taken by me when I was a Docent at the California State Railroad Museum. A tour was arranged for members of the Docent Association and given by a Southern Pacific representative. Photo taking was encouraged.

The tour consisted of a complete walk through of the SP Sacramento yards as they existed then. As you will see in the photos, the inside of these buildings are huge.

I'll try and explain what these photos are depicting, but my memory is a little fuzzy. Also I can't remember what year this was taken. I want to say it was around 1988 or 1989 but I can't be exactly sure.

Anyhow, on with the show.

The first photo is looking west toward the 5 fwy.





This shot is looking eastward, in the distance you can see the old channel 3 transmission tower.





This picture shows the tour group, with the same older brick building in the previous shot.





This is the west side of the main locomotive building. Notice the sideways moving transfer table.






The next three photos give you a feeling of the size of this building.

Here we're inside the locomotive building looking north.





Here is the same area further back.





Now the group is on the south side of the Locomotive shop.





This is the other building. It's just as impressive.





Another shot inside the second building.





I had to splice two photos together to get this shot.





And here is the group leaving the SP yards after a fun day of walking around the yards.




Finally, an old photo of the Sacramento passenger train platform.




Hope you like them.
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  #7  
Old Posted Jun 4, 2007, 2:10 AM
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Fantastic pictures, petescafe! (and welcome to the forum). It's odd to see life and activity in a place I only know as being derelict and not from terribly long ago either.

The amtrak platform doesn't look all too different Although not related to the railyards, do you have any skyline shots from back then? There wasn't much to look at, I imagine, but i'm still very curious what it looked like in the 1980s.
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  #8  
Old Posted Jun 4, 2007, 2:35 AM
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Great Photos

Thanks for the photos, it gives me a much better idea of what we are dealing with here. Based on what I see, it looks like a Baltimore Harbor Place development would work with these buildings, along with something like in the Ferry Bldg in San Francisco.

Looks like we still have a lot to be excited about, just got to get the shovels moving.
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Old Posted Jun 4, 2007, 2:36 AM
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Yes, very cool shots, and welcome!
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  #10  
Old Posted Jun 4, 2007, 2:55 AM
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Fantastic shots! Thanks for posting them...and as aufbau said, any pics of the 80's skyline would be neat if you had them, too!
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  #11  
Old Posted Jun 4, 2007, 4:46 AM
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Thanks for the welcome.

I don't think I have anything from the 80's but I'll look through the archives and see what I got.

I think both structures are registered national historical landmarks.
Doesn't that limit what can be done to them?

I think the brick engine house is over 100 years old. Can't image what the earthquake retrofit will do to it.
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Old Posted Jun 4, 2007, 9:56 AM
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Thanks for the historic pics. Really enjoyed them.
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Old Posted Jun 4, 2007, 4:47 PM
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I don't know the historic landmark status offhand, but the still-standing Shops buildings are between 100 and 140 years old. Sometimes it's kind of hard to gauge because many of the structures were built, expanded and rebuilt over the years.

One of the main points of discussion is how much of the existing Shops building will become part of the Railroad Technology Museum. The two buildings on the far west of the lot, the Boiler Shop and the Erecting Shop, are currently used to store, maintain and restore the CSRM's equipment, and the Sacramento Southern's maintenance of way, signals, and other departments work out of there. They have rebuilt the transfer table and use it to shuffle equipment between the two shops.

The rest of the buildings, including the blacksmith shop, a car shop, the paint shop/traction motor shop, and the lavatory, are kind of in flux right now. CSRM would like to have control of most or all of them to really expand the Railroad Technology Museum, and because they are a public agency they would have access to restoration funds that aren't available to private organizations like Thomas Enterprises. Thomas has expressed some interest in having part of the Shops under their control, but probably not the Boiler Shop/Erecting Shop, and has made public statements that they are willing to spend $100 million to do restoration work on the structures. Exactly who gets what and what goes where is going to be...interesting.

I'm currently a CSRM docent and have been through the Shops several times. It's a neat place, although things are considerably scruffier now and a lot of the buildings in those shots are gone. Just replace all those SP bloody-nose units with an assortment of equipment ranging from 1870s steam locomotives to 1960s era diesel-electrics, stacks of spare parts and tools and assorted heavy-duty gear of all sorts.

One of my pet peeves is when people refer to them as the "Union Pacific shops." All UP ever did there was shut the place down, let it go to pot and sell it off. Southern Pacific (and its predecessor Central Pacific) were there for over a century, and built the place up from a swamp.

It's not a "skyline" shot, but I do have this gigantic 4'x4' aerial photograph of downtown Sacramento from the early seventies that shows the shops, K Street, assorted state buildings, and the sea of parking lots that were a legacy of development. The Delta King is barely visible on the West Sac side of the river. The shops are clearly visible and there was quite a bit of activity, although of course not as much as during their heyday. The place was HUGE--biggest industrial complex on this side of the country, one of the biggest steam locomotive construction shops anywhere in the nation and the biggest employer in town by quite a margin.
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Old Posted Jun 4, 2007, 5:11 PM
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wburg,

great pics of the railyards, thanks for this history lesson as well.

The way I remember it from California History 101. Union Pacific was mostly out of LA and southern cal.

SP and CP were SF based, Northern Cal. While Sacramento had the huge railyard, repair yard, and shops.

Stanford built a grand mansion in Sacramento, so did Crocker. What about Huntington and Hopkins. Did they build anything grand in Sacramento or Stockton?

Last edited by BrianSac; Jun 4, 2007 at 5:19 PM.
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  #15  
Old Posted Jun 4, 2007, 5:39 PM
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The Pacific Railroad (more commonly known as the Transcontinental Railroad, technically the Overland Route) was built by Central Pacific, starting from here, and Union Pacific, starting from Omaha, Nebraska. They met at Promontory Summit (not Promontory Point!) and UP technically had the eastern half.

Central Pacific was based out of Sacramento originally, but they moved their offices to San Francisco. The main shops were still located here. For a variety of legal reasons, Central Pacific purchased a company called "Southern Pacific," incorporated in Kentucky (for tax purposes), and used it as a holding company. Southern Pacific was pretty much the dominant economic and political force in California until around 1900.

SP had a line down to southern California, and their "Sunset Route" through the Southwest was actually more reliable than the Overland Route (less likely to get snowed in in winter.) Their first competitor in southern California was the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe--Union Pacific didn't enter southern California until much later (maybe 1920s?)

Leland Stanford bought his mansion in Sacramento (it was already built when he moved in) and greatly expanded it after becoming governor and building the railroad. He later moved to San Francisco when CP/SP relocated its headquarters to San Francisco--but when the line was originally built, you couldn't stay on the train to San Francisco, you switched to riverboat at Sacramento.

The Crocker home/gallery wasn't built by Charles Crocker, who was one of the Big Four--it was built by his brother, E.B. Crocker, who was Central Pacific's principal attorney. Charles Crocker and C.P. Huntington built homes in San Francisco, along with Stanford. Mark Hopkins built a house in San Francisco at his wife's insistence. I think all four of the mansions they built in San Francisco were destroyed in the 1906 earthquake, so really the Stanford Mansion is the only home of the Big Four left.

None of them built homes in Stockton (and why would they?). Stockton wanted to be chosen by CP as the site for their division point, where traffic headed up the peninsula to San Francisco would depart their main line. However, Stockton didn't offer enough to CP for the privilege, so CP started their own town a few miles from Stockton to support the division yard, named after Leland Stanford's in-laws--the town of Lathrop is still there.
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Old Posted Jun 4, 2007, 11:44 PM
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interessting stuff!

Regarding Stockton, I was thinking of the "Haggin" Musuem who had nothing to do with the Big Four.

I always thought the Crocker Museum was a built by Charles Crocker not E.B.........you set me straight on that.

Good to know Sacramento has the last standing Mansion of the Big Four. Too bad Stanford didn't build "The Farm" (Stanford University) in Sacramento.
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  #17  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2007, 12:11 AM
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Wow! Great stuff wburg. Thank you for every sentence. My grandfather worked for the SP in Roseville, but I don't recall any visits to the Sacramento yards. So Petescafe, I greatly appreciate the pictures.

I have real hope for the railyards. It seems that there is a truly world class team in place. It seems that they are in tune with some cultural/commercial elements lacking in Sacramento. It seems that they see the city as a destination and not just a stop on the way to somewhere else.

In short: they are everything Westfield isn't.
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Old Posted Jun 5, 2007, 12:44 AM
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For those of us who's eyes and ears wax over when people talk about railroads I hope the entire shops do not become Old Sacramento North. As the reporter for the New York Times said when visiting Sacramento -"No I won't be going to the Railroad Museum".
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Old Posted Jun 5, 2007, 12:53 AM
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As of right now, only the two western most shops are to be the Railroad Technology Museum with the remainder of the buidings being retained by Thomas Enterprises and transformed into a variety of uses including arts and retail. I for one am glad they will be utilitized as something other than a museum that will be utilized and enjoyed by a larger portion of the population.
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  #20  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2007, 3:43 AM
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i'm so late, but yeah those throwback pics were sweet.


loves it.
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