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  #61  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2008, 5:56 PM
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Saw this in the SN&R (Bites column) today and thought it bore repeating. I dropped it on the main page but figured nobody reads my "preservation/adaptive reuse" threads anyhow...
http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/Content?oid=690217
Quote:
Last month Bites reported that Rex Cycles was moving, and that the developer was considering knocking down the historic buildings on 20th Street and Capitol Avenue.

“We’re doing everything per proper protocol to see if it does have any historical value,” developer Michael Heller told Bites at the time.

Turns out the demolition was already a done deal.

Bites got hold of a report from an architectural consultant hired to assess the buildings’ historic value. The evaluation was completed weeks before the conversation with Heller.

The consultant found that the two buildings on the property were “examples of vernacular commercial storefront architecture, but have little historical or architectural significance.”

The buildings were built in 1915, and first used as a vet hospital and a laundry shop. In the late 1920s, they became auto repair shops. The buildings were more than 50 years old, which triggered the need for at least some cursory historic review.

But the property “does not contribute to the historic fabric of the 20th and Capitol Area,” according to the report.

Good enough for the city. The demolition was approved. On June 21, the buildings were razed and carted away, and the lot was fenced in.

Bites is no expert on historic preservation, but wonders what the hurry was. After all, the city’s Development Services department says Heller’s put in no application to develop anything. So it’ll be an empty lot for who knows how long.

Maybe the buildings were only a little bit historic, just a little significant. But they looked a lot cooler than a chain-link fence.
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  #62  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2008, 7:20 PM
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Since you're going to keep harping on this issue, I'm glad they tore this piece of junk down. I live 5 blocks away and it was a dump. Other than being old, it was an eyesore and needed to be torn down. Kudos to Heller.

There's a commons sense line that I have for historic preservation and you seem IMHO to be way over to the side of my line. I love architecture...I took it for four years in high school and got into the architecture program at Cal Poly, but chose not to go. Architecture and photography have always been some of the things I really enjoy and keep up on. But when I hear people crying about this building being torn down, it just makes laugh because it was so not worth saving for almost any reasaon.

So by the end of 2009, instead of having a dumpy building (or temporary chain link fence - woohoo - let's bag on a chain link fence...), we'll probably have another cool MARRS like development. I 110% applaud this decision!

What old dumps are next?

Last edited by Grimnebulin; Jul 3, 2008 at 7:35 PM.
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  #63  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2008, 9:17 PM
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Agreed 100%

Wberg, we understand that you’re in love with every old building no matter
what condition it's in, but please give us a break on this heap of crap.
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  #64  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2008, 9:37 PM
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Wburg, thought you said ... can we officially drop it and move on? I guess not as this is still bugging you. Heller did what he had to do knowing how folks operate in this city. Agree with Grim, I'd rather see another Marrs type development than see any further development of that site stalled by preservationist singing the same 'ol song.
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  #65  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2008, 10:02 PM
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I posted this to pass along the Bites article from the SN&R--if for no other reason to point out that I'm not the only one concerned about this, or the only one who thinks it's a bit suspect to preemptively demolish a building before a new plan has even been submitted. There's no plan in the works with the city--so there's nothing to stall! If there is a plan, why hasn't it been submitted to the city?

A "MARRS type" project would be swell--but please note that the MARRS project was an adaptive reuse of an existing (and technically historic) building, and part of why MARRS worked financially is because it's cheaper to make use of an existing building than to build a new one (and I heard this directly from Heller at a presentation!)

For all we know, Heller might decide to make this into a parking lot.
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  #66  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2008, 10:43 PM
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wburg, you are an idiot.
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  #67  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2008, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
I posted this to pass along the Bites article from the SN&R--if for no other reason to point out that I'm not the only one concerned about this, or the only one who thinks it's a bit suspect to preemptively demolish a building before a new plan has even been submitted. There's no plan in the works with the city--so there's nothing to stall! If there is a plan, why hasn't it been submitted to the city?

A "MARRS type" project would be swell--but please note that the MARRS project was an adaptive reuse of an existing (and technically historic) building, and part of why MARRS worked financially is because it's cheaper to make use of an existing building than to build a new one (and I heard this directly from Heller at a presentation!)

For all we know, Heller might decide to make this into a parking lot.
From what we've heard so far on this board, Heller is apparently planning for it to be a building that will host the work of local artists (his dad's?) as I'm sure you've already read.

Enough of the chain link fence and parking lot rhetoric...it's getting tired. Even if his plans don't pan out, his goal is admirable. And his goal is not to install a paid parking lot - even though the building already had one of those before it was tore down.

True about the adaptive reuse for MARRS, but it was preserved for economic not historical reasons as you were arguing above. You need to choose one arguement and stick with it, not keep flip flopping. The MARRS building had very little historical significance as it was used, at least for a pretty long time, as Mayflower Moving's storage space.

In the case of the shack, he probably evaluated the financial prospects of renovating the shack versus starting from scratch - clearly starting from scratch won out in this case.
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  #68  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2008, 10:47 PM
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dbl post - oops!!!

Last edited by Grimnebulin; Jul 5, 2008 at 12:24 AM.
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  #69  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2008, 11:21 PM
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Economic reasons is one of the most important reasons for historic preservation, Grimnebulin--they certainly aren't mutually exclusive. The MARRS building is a historic building--Washington doesn't have to have slept someplace to make it historic. It's not a landmark, nor is it something that is going to get on the National Register. But it qualifies as a historic building, within its own context.

Yes, I liked the building, but I certainly don't get worked up about the demo of every old building, or you'd see posts like this a lot more often. If the procedure for the demolition had been more transparent, or at least more thorough, I'd actually be okay with it. Maybe not overjoyed like you cats, but at least accepting of it. Truth is, the building wasn't in very good shape and probably wouldn't have been useful for much in the way of adaptive reuse. Properly run through the system, he could probably convince even me (if it were my decision, which it wasn't) to knock it down and build something else. But this one smells. Even if his goals are admirable (and I'm not too sure about that) I question his methods.

Heller didn't do what he had to do. He did what he wanted to do. He found an out-of-town consultant who was willing to write the kind of report he wanted, rather than one that was fair and thorough. He's pretty much the city's golden boy right now, he could walk in and ask to demo the Memorial Auditorium and get the permit approved over-the-counter.
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  #70  
Old Posted Jul 4, 2008, 2:13 AM
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Unfortunately, I think this particular situation is indicative of a broken system that results in a lose-lose.

I definitely think there needs to be a respectable balance between historic preservation and economic growth (not that they are mutually exclusive). But I do think that abuses on both sides have been allowed, which have led to mistrust. I believe in some cases, the city has allowed far too much conversation and debate before protecting a property, or allowing for new development. And thus, developers are left with quietly trying to move their projects forward. Which of course, leads to preservationists mistrusting the developer and the city.

I think Heller is an honorable developer, yet had to result to somewhat stealth methods or possibly face an overwhelming delay. Who are the winners here? Heller loses rent he could be collecting if he knew there weren't going to be long delays, the tenant loses his lease before its necessary, preservationists lose the opportunity to weigh in on a possibly historic building, and the residents of Sacramento lose in that they have to look at an empty lot until a future plan is approved.

This is where I think the city needs to take more control in telling developers there will be notification and debate if needed, and preservationists that the debate will be limited and a verdict rendered in a reasonable amount of time.
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  #71  
Old Posted Jul 4, 2008, 3:53 AM
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wburg,
I'm sorry for your loss. It must be hard when they can't even find the body, I mean the building. If only there were a pile of rubble to mourn, but there's not even that, only an empty lot. Perhaps you can have a candlelight vigil. I'll put flowers on the sight if you wish.

Look at it this way; its a blank slate now. A new creation awaits. 120 years from now if somebody wants to tear down the future Heller building, you'll have another chance to impose your will upon the new owner. Hopefully, it will be worth saving.

From the flames rises a new young Phoenix (mythical bird).

Oh, Here's something historical about that building. I did a number 1 on the side of that building a few yrs back because I couldnt hold it after a night of drinking at 20th & K.
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  #72  
Old Posted Jul 4, 2008, 5:20 AM
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Dakotasteve: Pretty much. We've got a system now that seems based on mistrust and suspicion. A clear system needs to work in both directions: for developers, the system should be clear, simple and relatively fast, and for the community, the system should be transparent, accountable and follow established rules and laws.

Part of that solution will, hopefully, involve fuller staffing at Development Services--I'm sure that since the hiring freeze they've had their hands full. Another part is the technological/procedural changes of the Matrix/Acella systems: they have both streamlined a lot of functions and made things visible. But all the staffing and technology won't bridge the gap of trust and cooperation.
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  #73  
Old Posted Jul 5, 2008, 10:31 PM
Brandon_cole Brandon_cole is offline
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As I never post on this blog and as I live in Portland, Oregon, I doubt my opinion on this matter mean squat, but I thought I would throw in my two cents because of the blatant absurdity of some of the above reactions.

It strikes me as closed-minded… or at the very least uninformed… to think that the removal of an environmental, economic, social, and cultural asset is in any way, shape, or form a benefit to the quality of life in Sacramento. Although we can each pretend that our own personally tailored contemporary masterpiece will be constructed on this site (or any other), it would be negligent to blindly assume that whatever is indeed built here will, by virtue of being new, be better than what existed before.

I hate to continue to beat the dead horse that is the cliché term ‘sustainability,’ but this discussion should at least acknowledge the current scholarship on the value of existing/old/historic/significant buildings.

Besides merely monitoring the habits of low and middle income individuals and businesses, scholars like Jane Jacobs understood decades ago that there is an inherent economic value in old buildings… that what is old should be more affordable than what is new, and that it is in these affordable buildings that small business and struggling households find refuge from the high costs of new construction. Furthermore, existing buildings, streets, parks, signs, etc. are the glue that grounds individuals to place.

To the above post: although I can only imagine the intimate connection that urinating on a building fosters, I am certain that there are countless individuals, both living and dead, whose memories and experiences in these buildings shaped their lives in profound ways. For that, it is reckless for those in a community to impose their will by demolishing a structure without a clear understanding of the building’s impact on others… preservationists, inherently, highlight the agendas of those who created the places we interact with today; those who seek to unjustifiably demolish the past are the ones imposing their wills on a community.

I recently had the opportunity to hear Donovan Rypkema speak about his research on the green economics of preserving existing buildings. Although I’m no expert on ‘green,’ Donovan is. His work makes a compelling argument that trashing unusable materials and square footage is negligence, plain and simple. His site is here: http://www.placeeconomics.com/index.html

Finally, the Sacramento region can only succeed in the 21st century by looking inward. If decisions are made by reaction and scores of creative Sacramentans continue to flee for more self-aware cities, the Capitol City will continue to be only that… a place that has no significance and is just a short jet flight from Southern California or the Bay Area; nothing more, nothing less. If “slash and burn” development strategies appeal to some on this board, my question is this: when you’re evicted so that a brownfield and chain-link fence can be put up, when you’re excluded from the process for a new development in your neighborhood, or when the building that means the most to your identity comes down, how will you feel?

Sacramento has a rich history and unlimited potential to cope with 21st Century problems… It can only work if everyone is at the table and each and every asset is fully understood and weighed against change. Disagreement is essential, and I’m glad not everyone is an old building hugger, but much of the new/planned construction in Sacramento is an embarrassing attempt to turn the city into Someplaceotherthansacramento, California.

Just my two cents.
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  #74  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2008, 5:15 AM
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Oh, puhleeze, you don't have to go textbook on us here. Are you Wburg's long lost twin? This is but one building with almost no significant historical importance. You need to go read more Sacramento posts to see that most people here are not against saving old buildings but saving every old building regardless of historical or economic value.

This particular building has as much significance on Sacramento character and its collection of, or attitude towards, old historic buildings as adding a McDonalds in Paris does to elevating French cuisine.
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  #75  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2008, 7:30 AM
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Haha, unfortunately as far as I know, I am not Wburg's twin.

I don’t doubt that most everyone on this blog would tie themselves to the Capitol or Governor’s Mansion if a threat surfaced; however, reading some of the other threads compelled me to interject about my perception of the value of run-of the mill, contextual, old buildings. If something is built on this site in short order that can reclaim the embodied energy lost by the demolition, can provide as affordable space as the old building, and can create memories for our and future generations, then it was worth replacing the junker. If not, the argument could be made that everyone has lost a microscopic piece of their identity.
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  #76  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2008, 12:33 PM
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Brandon_cole,
You might want to read more of the prior posts regarding Perception, Laisser-Faire, letting cities evolve naturally, historical significance. More importantly, Ozone, mentions how rents are not necessarily cheaper in older buildings.

I care about historical buildings and preserving some of them. Just not all of them.

Quote:
To the above post: although I can only imagine the intimate connection that urinating on a building fosters, I am certain that there are countless individuals, both living and dead, whose memories and experiences in these buildings shaped their lives in profound ways. For that, it is reckless for those in a community to impose their will by demolishing a structure without a clear understanding of the building’s impact on others…
Not too long ago McDonalds completely demolished one of their older 70's style restaurants in my neighborhood. I had both memories and experiences at that restaurant as a kid. Is it reasonable for me to impose my will upon the owner of the building because that restaurant impacted me in profound ways? I think not.

Sidenote: Who hasn't relieved their lizard on the backside of an alley building when nature calls at 3 a.m. Once, while sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on Highway 50 (road to Tahoe) I saw a 20 something woman, step out of an SUV filled with skiers, drop her pants to her ankles, squat, and urinate on the snow covered road. Steam rose. I'm sure the guys in the SUV have deep profound memories of that.
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  #77  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2008, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Economic reasons is one of the most important reasons for historic preservation, Grimnebulin--they certainly aren't mutually exclusive. The MARRS building is a historic building--Washington doesn't have to have slept someplace to make it historic. It's not a landmark, nor is it something that is going to get on the National Register. But it qualifies as a historic building, within its own context.

A "MARRS type" project would be swell--but please note that the MARRS project was an adaptive reuse of an existing (and technically historic) building, and part of why MARRS worked financially is because it's cheaper to make use of an existing building than to build a new one (and I heard this directly from Heller at a presentation!)


Just when I thought you couldn't be any dumber... you go and say something like this and TOTALLY REDEEM yourself! (dumb and dumber)

Well, actually, not really.

Suddenly a historian knows what aspects of development are more economical because a developer said in a certain case it was more economically viable to use an existing building. Using an existing building is NOT generally cheaper to build on. Just because in one case it was doesn't mean it is a generality. I cant believe my eyes when I read such ignorant stupidity. Ask any developer about structural engineering costs skyrocketing when you build / rebuild on an existing structure. These one bullet-point lower division college freshmen arguments are starting to get good...
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  #78  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2008, 4:24 AM
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This is one that could go under any of several categories, but I'll put it here, since it would be an adaptive reuse project in any of the mentioned buildings:
Quote:
Bob Shallit: RT seeks downtown site to consolidate workers
By Bob Shallit - bshallit@sacbee.com

Published 12:00 am PDT Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Story appeared in BUSINESS section, Page D4

Seeking to consolidate its scattered work force, Sacramento Regional Transit is looking for a downtown site to house at least 300 employees.

Mike Wiley, RT's general manager, confirms rumors that the bus and light-rail agency hopes to buy one or two buildings downtown to bring together employees spread among a 29th and N streets headquarters site and eight other leased or owned buildings.

Among the downtown properties under consideration: the county-owned former Bank of America building at Eighth and I streets.

But Wiley says the top contender is the former Montgomery Ward building at 830 K St. RT also might take an option to buy the Kress building next door at 818 K. Together, those two buildings contain more than 100,000 square feet.

"I'd like to have everything wrapped up within three or four months," he says of the private discussions taking place among RT board members.

The deal would create operating efficiencies as well as cost savings, by eliminating about $500,000 spent annually on leased buildings, Wiley says. RT's maintenance yard and dispatch center for its fleet of buses would remain in midtown.

Consolidating in a downtown site is appealing because of proximity to state and local government offices and private groups that RT partners with, he says. Another plus is better access to bus and light-rail lines.

The move also could be a boon for the business district, says Michael Ault, executive director of the Downtown Sacramento Partnership.

"It's an incredible boost to K Street," Ault says of RT's potential move, noting that it could bring 400 to 500 employees downtown.

Coupled with other nearly completed projects in K Street's center, Ault says a "real connection" is developing between the east and west ends of the pedestrian mall.

Wiley says staff members are doing due diligence on the possible acquisitions – a process that includes assessing the value of RT's current properties.

If selling those buildings won't raise enough cash to cover the costs of buying a downtown site, no acquisition will occur, Wiley says.

"I won't ask the public to pay for this."
Personally I'd rather see the Kress or Montgomery Wards buildings reactivated than the B of A building on 8th and I, not only because it's more important to have buildings in use on K Street but it would be good to see one of those two buildings back in use (or adaptive reuse.) The building on 8th and I is kind of unlovely (to be generous) and I know a lot of folks would still like to see a tall thing on that site.

Potentially it's a good PR move for RT--it would mean that the most convenient way for most RT employees to get to work would be...take RT to the new, parking-lot-less office. While I'm sure every RT employee strives to make RT a great transit system, the message might sink in that much more when it becomes their own means of getting to work!

No matter what, hopefully they will have some sort of public outreach office on the ground floor--a place to buy monthly bus passes etcetera, similar to the one that used to be in the Kress building until a couple of years ago when RT relocated their public affairs office to the 13th Street station...
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  #79  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2008, 8:45 AM
SactownTom SactownTom is offline
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I'd like to see the whole square block of 8-9 and J-I torn down and replaced with a signature Skyscraper. To me, that is the ugliest block in Sacramento. I cringe every time I come off I-5 and pass by.
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  #80  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2008, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
This is one that could go under any of several categories, but I'll put it here, since it would be an adaptive reuse project in any of the mentioned buildings:


Personally I'd rather see the Kress or Montgomery Wards buildings reactivated than the B of A building on 8th and I, not only because it's more important to have buildings in use on K Street but it would be good to see one of those two buildings back in use (or adaptive reuse.) The building on 8th and I is kind of unlovely (to be generous) and I know a lot of folks would still like to see a tall thing on that site.

Potentially it's a good PR move for RT--it would mean that the most convenient way for most RT employees to get to work would be...take RT to the new, parking-lot-less office. While I'm sure every RT employee strives to make RT a great transit system, the message might sink in that much more when it becomes their own means of getting to work!

No matter what, hopefully they will have some sort of public outreach office on the ground floor--a place to buy monthly bus passes etcetera, similar to the one that used to be in the Kress building until a couple of years ago when RT relocated their public affairs office to the 13th Street station...
Yeah, can't say that I would like to keep the "newest BofA" building, and I agree that I would love to see RT on K street. Didn't somebody buy that building at 8th and I from DR Horton?
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