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  #21  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2007, 7:13 PM
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Originally Posted by sugit View Post
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.

Very Nice, I like it too!!
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  #22  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2007, 8:32 PM
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Originally Posted by sugit View Post
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.

That looks outstanding! This group has been terrific. Still don't know how they could have decided on such a mundane name. (I was pulling for "Centurion.") Hope they can do more in Sacramento.
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  #23  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2007, 4:42 PM
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Well, the terrarium did pass--the Preservation Council recognized that even though most of them didn't like it, it was obvious that the City Council would override them. It's not the most dreadful thing in the world, I suppose, and they're going to build it in a way that does not involve demolition of any of the interior wall (they're maintaining the architectural features inside the framework) but to me it still looks like those greenhouse things you see stuck on the front of an Arby's.

The other precedent being set is that this project involves encroachment onto a public sidewalk: essentially, the project has been given the sidewalk and what was previously public right of way is now part of a private building. It sets a precedent that it's okay for future projects to take over the public right of way.
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  #24  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2007, 4:52 PM
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Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Well, the terrarium did pass--the Preservation Council recognized that even though most of them didn't like it, it was obvious that the City Council would override them. It's not the most dreadful thing in the world, I suppose, and they're going to build it in a way that does not involve demolition of any of the interior wall (they're maintaining the architectural features inside the framework) but to me it still looks like those greenhouse things you see stuck on the front of an Arby's.

The other precedent being set is that this project involves encroachment onto a public sidewalk: essentially, the project has been given the sidewalk and what was previously public right of way is now part of a private building. It sets a precedent that it's okay for future projects to take over the public right of way.
Oh my god, it nevers ends with you, does it? If you cant get them on the historic/preservation thing, then you have to find something else: encroachment of the right of way. It is truely amazing that developers actually move forward with their projects.
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  #25  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2007, 5:18 PM
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Well, it does encroach on public right of way, something that is pretty much a first for any project in Sacramento since Sixties redevelopment introduced the "superblocks" concept, and the terrarium doesn't meet Secretary of Interior standards for historic preservation on several points (and Secretary of Interior standards are supposed to be the guiding document for preservation projects in the city.)

Look, it PASSED. Historic preservation and encroachment onto public right-of-way were considered, and DISCARDED. Is it not enough for you that the preservationists lost in this case?
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  #26  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2007, 5:55 PM
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Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Well, it does encroach on public right of way, something that is pretty much a first for any project in Sacramento since Sixties redevelopment introduced the "superblocks" concept, and the terrarium doesn't meet Secretary of Interior standards for historic preservation on several points (and Secretary of Interior standards are supposed to be the guiding document for preservation projects in the city.)

Look, it PASSED. Historic preservation and encroachment onto public right-of-way were considered, and DISCARDED. Is it not enough for you that the preservationists lost in this case?
Granted it passed, thank God! What did the preservationists lose? Arent they getting what they want: A historic building preserved and re-adapted to good use?
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  #27  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2007, 6:39 PM
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The new old
Modern features have to be added to older buildings to entice companies to move in
Sacramento Business Journal - July 13, 2007
by Robert Celaschi, Correspondent


They don't build offices like they used to. For owners of old buildings, that can be a big-time problem -- they often lack the creature comforts tenants have come to expect.

Unless the owners have renovated extensively, the heating and air conditioning systems might be clanky and cranky.

Forget high-speed cable. The offices might not even have decent insulation.

As for interior space, buildings from a bygone age tend to feature rabbit warrens of cramped rooms instead of the open plan today's workers are used to.

For the prospective tenant, the solution is relatively simple: Go look for another space that has been brought up to date. But for the building owner, the challenge is how to make that old structure comfy in a way that will pencil out.

There's no magic formula.

"They're all different," said developer Larry Kelley, president of McClellan Air Park LLC. He's been turning a variety of former Air Force buildings into leasable space. "The challenge we face is you've got to get all the code compliance issues taken care of."

That almost always means making changes to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act and often getting rid of lead-based paint and asbestos.

None of the work is cheap, and the older the building, the more complex it gets. But once a building is up to code, it becomes more a matter of cosmetics, Kelley said.

One building, two approaches
One recent project getting a lot of attention is the renovation of the Elks Building at 921 11th St. in downtown Sacramento.

Owner Steve Ayers has received praise for ripping out wallboard and T-bar acoustic ceilings to expose the 1926 building's ornate ceilings and walls that have been hidden for 30-plus years.

But architect Dean Unger sticks up for the remodel in the 1970s.

"I designed all the renovation work with Bill Cook," Unger said. "If it wasn't for us, they would have had to tear the building down."

Unger said the original interior had been gorgeous, but in the 1970s, downtown Sacramento didn't provide enough tenants willing to cover the cost of an ornate -- and high-priced -- restoration.

"We finally threw up our hands and said if we are going to turn this thing around, we have to hang some ceilings," Unger said.

The building was filled with small rooms designed to house retired gentlemen on the fourth floor and above. Unger said he opened it up as much as he could, turning the floors into plain vanilla offices in order to make the building economically feasible. He was required to add a staircase but didn't want to diminish the leasable space, so he put a steel stair tower outside the north wall.

"As it was, we poured a lot of money into it and sold it, and didn't make anything," he said.

Today, there's a market for the kind of beaux-arts architectural restoration that Ayers is completing, with 14,000 square feet of retail and 70,000 square feet of offices. Even so, Ayers has limits.

"Being in the business of development, we do have to make a margin. There is a balance we have to strike," he said. "While we would like to bring it back to its full grandeur, we realize some things are not practical."

For some particular areas within the building, Ayers has gone beyond the point where he expects to recover the cost of restoration. But looking at the building as an entire package, he said it's worth the price.

"I've been told it couldn't be done, but I'm here to tell you it can be done," he said.

Creature comforts
While the challenges will vary from building to building, the "must haves" are fairly consistent.

At the top of the list is comfort, Unger said.

That typically means ripping out the old heating and air conditioning systems.

Second is a quiet environment. Extra insulation in the walls can help, as can a thick carpet. But there are other tools, Unger said, such as white-noise generators.

Also, where possible, renovators should knock down walls. The modern office uses cubicles and workstations.

And they should pay special attention to the front entrance.

"Any Realtor will tell you that the first impression you get is in the lobby," Unger said. "Once you get past the lobby, you can do about anything."

It sounds simple, until the owner starts to factor in the cost. If the building is old enough, historic preservation also becomes an issue.

What to do, for instance, when high, ornate ceilings don't provide room for new air conditioning ductwork? That's when the owner, architect and contractors have to make some tough decisions.

"You want to provide the tenant with a finished product, but you don't need to go overboard," said Joe Kerekgyarto, vice president of estimating for John F. Otto Inc. in Sacramento. "There are a lot of things you can come up with that could lighten the load on their pocketbook."

In some cases, the answer is to cover up the worn, historic elements until money is available to restore the historic fabric.

Instead of refinishing hardwood floor, the owner could lay down new carpet, Kerekgyarto said. Damaged plaster walls can be patched or covered with gypsum wallboard.

At the Elks building this year, the Otto crew had to install a false ceiling in a conference room where a huge duct had been punched through the original ceiling. Wooden baseboards might enhance the look of an older office, but vinyl might do the trick for now.

"Other things would be like doors," Kerekgyarto said. "You can find a nice quality door that has some historic flair to it but is made with modern materials and blends in well with historic doors, including the hardware."

Creative approaches
Turning an older building into a comfortable office can be easier in some ways if the building wasn't originally an office.

John F. Otto's own headquarters had been a warehouse. When it's obvious that the building has been converted to a new use, there's less need to hide the changes, Kerekgyarto said. Thus, the ductwork is exposed.

Another building the company has worked on is now occupied by Pyramid Alehouse, Brewery and Restaurant at 11th and K streets in Sacramento. Previous incarnations include the Touch of Class restaurant and the Ransohoff's dress store.

Built in two phases -- one concrete frame and one wood frame -- the building had to be seismically and structurally upgraded. The steel X braces have since become incorporated as an architectural element at Pyramid.

On Alhambra Boulevard in Sacramento, Medical Vision Technology Ophthalmology Group Inc. occupies what had once been the Glenn Dairy and later Dolan's Lumber. About 40 percent of the 21,000-square-foot building is the historic dairy, with the rest comprising new construction over an old garage, said Dr. Robert Peabody Sr., co-owner of the ophthalmology group.

"They didn't use a lot of steel in those days," he said.

Previous owners had to add a lot of reinforcing bar to the extra-thick concrete walls and floors in order to bring the building up to code. That makes for an especially quiet building, but it also means a lot of extra drilling when his company wants to do any remodeling. It can take a couple of days to cut a hole in the wall, Peabody said.

The building already had a standard office interior when he bought it about 15 years ago, Peabody said, but his group has had to put in extra plumbing and drains for its lab.

A shell of its former self
There are little ways to add a lot of charm to an old building. Fresh paint is the easiest, especially with complimentary trim colors, Kelley said. And good lighting makes any space look better.

There's also no point in trying to guess what finishing touches a tenant will want.

"If we have a building that shows well, you leave it at that," Kelley said. "Tenants sometimes have a difficult time if you haven't done something to make it presentable, but a lot of times a design is tenant-driven. If you get too far in front of yourself, you end up going backward."

But the best approach of all, Unger said, is to gut the building as long as there's nothing historic to preserve. Architectural charm might bring tenants in the front door, but the inside of an office building must be all business.
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  #28  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2007, 7:29 PM
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snefnoc: Excellent article. The Elks Building is a good example of how to do that job right: McCormick & Schmick's looks terrific (even though it's not original, it looks like it belongs) and they didn't even need a terrarium.

I noticed they mentioned seismic upgrades: there are tax credits that can be accessed to hack down one's tax bill when seismic upgrades are put into a historic structure.

BrianSac: The reuse of the hotel was never a problem--in fact, the preservation community generally cheered the project. It's the terrarium.
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  #29  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2007, 9:16 PM
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Any one heard anything new on the Maydestone? It's been quite on that corner for a while now after some initial work.
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  #30  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2007, 9:54 PM
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According to the city website, a permit was issued last week to complete fire repairs to the building, as an earlier permit had expired. I'm crossing my fingers too...the Maydestone is a great building. I have a photo of it from the fifties that I found at a garage sale years ago, which I snuck into the back of my streetcars book even though there aren't any pictures of streetcars in the photo.

Probably my neatest Maydestone memory was the advice guy: he lived on the second floor and hung a sign below his window, he would hang out at the window and give advice to anyone who asked.
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  #31  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2007, 10:11 PM
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Okay, good. I think it was Sacdelicious who knows the people who are buying the building and rehabbing it. It was quite a few months ago, but he mentioned (and please correct me if I am wrong, Sacdelicious ) and it was only supposed to be around a 6 rehab month job so I was hoping it would be done by now.. As long as it gets done though.
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  #32  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2007, 10:14 PM
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Wasn't there a lawsuit holding that up? Was it settled?

Wburg, I pulled out your book. Great photo.
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  #33  
Old Posted Aug 1, 2007, 6:45 PM
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Tonight's Preservation Board includes some interesting bits: the adaptive reuse of the Firestone building on 16th and L, the relocation of the gas station at Alhambra and T Street to the Towe Auto Museum, and review & comment on the city's policy regarding historic "tunnels" beneath many of downtown Sacramento's sidewalks.
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  #34  
Old Posted Aug 1, 2007, 7:37 PM
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It looks like they pulled off the office above the Firestone building. Good move IMHO.
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  #35  
Old Posted Aug 2, 2007, 5:53 PM
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They did, in fact, remove the office structure. The Firestone building project was approved by Preservation. It features four restaurants, all of which will have outdoor seating: three on the sidewalk, and one on the roof. The CPK on the corner unit will use an uninterrupted glass wall/door enclosure to continue to suggest the open space while allowing the area to be climate-controlled, but it will still have outdoor seating. There will be an elevator added for second-story access, and the top of the elevator structure will be visible from the street: they are using an illuminated glass structure to highlight this element of the building.

The gas station at 3030 T Street will be relocated to the Towe Auto Museum for future use by the Towe, probably once they find a new home after leaving the Docks area. The project is still awaiting a new design for a planned residential building on the site: it will be 12 units, 3 stories tall (an earlier 15 unit, 4 story building was not approved, and the architect has gone back to the drawing board.)

There was also some discussion on protection/preservation strategies for Sacramento's handful of remaining underground sidewalks and raised streets. A working group will study ways to promote these sites as potential tourist attractions and otherwise highlight their role in local history and heritage.
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  #36  
Old Posted Aug 2, 2007, 6:48 PM
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Was there a reason why they removed the office structure??

4 storys, 15 units, not approved?? I hate America.
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  #37  
Old Posted Aug 2, 2007, 7:00 PM
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The office structure wasn't even mentioned in the presentation. I assume it was some earlier implementation of the plan. They did mention that the roof of the current building is made of fairly delicate metal, and they had to provide bracing just to get the building mechanical stuff to not plummet through the ceiling.

And the 4 story, 15 unit structure would have been located on a small lot, with almost no setback, next to single-story buildings, which is why they were concerned that it might be a bit too much. It's not the end of the dang world.
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  #38  
Old Posted Aug 2, 2007, 7:32 PM
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Oh, I see. Uh, where in the Constitution does it say single story buildings are entitled to neighbors with setbacks and short heights???
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  #39  
Old Posted Aug 2, 2007, 7:57 PM
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You'll have to ask city staff about that, but I'm pretty sure that it is the Sacramento zoning codes, not the United States Constitution, that regulates building heights in our city. Personally, I liked the original four-story design in its original 75-foot form, but that's just me.
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  #40  
Old Posted Aug 2, 2007, 8:16 PM
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Ahhh yes, local zoning codes, one of the MANY things I hate. I wonder if I can get the Supreme Court to declare zoning codes unconstitutional.
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