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.