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  #1  
Old Posted Feb 18, 2009, 8:47 PM
Korey Korey is offline
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How would you develop Sacramento?

Thought I would throw out a new thread, shamelessly cribbed from the LA section, to use as a discussion starting point.

In light of the slumping economy, I doubt we will be getting any high profile projects breaking ground this year, but on the other hand I feel that the following economic bull cycle will be something that Sacramento can harness pretty effectively. We are a city that is on the upswing, not in decline. The future should be bright for us.

There has been a ton of discussion (arguments) on what direction we should take the city in, with proponents of slow, measured growth and those that want a full steam ahead approach.

Because everything's in consolidation mode right now, I think it's the perfect time to talk about what we want done to position ourselves as a city that people desire to live in (not that it isn't already) and take advantage of the coming years of growth.

I've lived in the area for almost all my life, and although I've only recently begun to truly fall in love with Sac I see posters on here that have incredible knowledge and experience that I want to hear from.

So tell me, what would you do to Sacramento. Realistic or unrealistic, throw out your thoughts

Change stuff around in The Railyards, lightrail extension to airport/south to CRC, how would you approach K Street, DTP, R Street Corridor, libraries, parks, schools, etc...I know we have specific threads for this stuff but sometimes people's overall image gets lost in the noise, and I want that to come out here.
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  #2  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2009, 1:12 AM
nevernude nevernude is offline
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I'll take a shot. I've been thinking lately that it might have been a mistake to have one developer for the Railyards project. It exposes the project to potential money shortage issues. If Thomas is exposed to some bad deals, a huge part of the city's future is set back years. If we could do it all over again, I would open it up to some of the great local developers. Perhaps the city and state should have done the cleanup, roads, parks, infrastructure, and the like and then lease or sell parcels cheaply to local developers like Loftworks, D & S, LJ Urban, Talyor, even Saca or Mo if they are interested. Set standards on what they can develop. Retail on the first two floors. Housing in every building. A mix of apartments and condos. A min. height of 5 floors/max of 20 perhaps. Give them the parcel for less if they build LEED. Do a tax abatement for condo buyers and stores that move in. I know people here get tired of hearing about Portland, but the Pearl is THE playbook for redeveloping an industrial site and some of these methods were used. I'm worried that the Thomas development will be generic and stale with all the buildings looking the same. Kinda like a soundstage city or something. The great thing about the Pearl is the different architecture. The buildings are different heights, different materials. It feels fresh and organic. I think that is what we all want from the Railyards.

I want the Thomas development to be successful. We all do. But if it falls through and the city ends up with the land again, it is something to think about.
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Old Posted Feb 19, 2009, 2:33 AM
nevernude nevernude is offline
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My post above would also work for R Street or K Street. If Zeiden doesn't want to do his development, just give the land or buildings to rehab to local developers who have shown creativity and imagination (LJ Urban, Loftworks, D&S, basically see above post) Give them guidelines (see above) Mixed housing and office if it is a new building. Must have first floor retail. Tax abatements and the like for condo buyers. And then let them fly. A mini MARRS on K with a Peets (or a local place), Lugi's, and Newsbeat? I think it would work. Some eco-townhouses with live-work for artists from LJ Urban? K and R could become patchworks of the best Sac has to offer.

It's a bit pie-in-the-sky and the current market makes it tough. But giving them the land would help and we can dream, can't we?

Last edited by nevernude; Mar 12, 2009 at 6:46 AM.
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  #4  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2009, 2:43 AM
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Ryan@CU Ryan@CU is offline
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Build I-5 on the West Sac side of the river.
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  #5  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2009, 5:29 AM
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Originally Posted by nevernude View Post
I want the Thomas development to be successful. We all do. But if it falls through and the city ends up with the land again, it is something to think about.
The city of Sacramento hasn't owned the Railyards property since the 1860s, when it was a swamp. Union Pacific acquired it when they bought Southern Pacific, and sold it to Thomas Enterprises. If Thomas decides to back out, the property would not revert to the city, although considering that they borrowed $55 million from the city to pay for the purchase, it seems only fair that they give the property to the city in place of the cash--at the very least.

I agree with the approach of having more than one developer. The current Railyards plan includes requires multiple architects. Most of the features you mentioned, including ground floor retail/residential above and expected minimum height, are already part of the Railyards specific plan: the shortest buildings will be around 75 feet nearest the Shops buildings and along the "Boxcar Parks," 150 feet a little farther out from both, and in some portions no height limits at all. Because these were part of the plans the city developed, they would most likely apply to a future developer should Thomas back out. Although, as we saw in North Natomas, the price of developing a good community plan is eternal vigilance...

The problem with giving developers land is that it may not be the city's to give. The city has essentially acquired the land on the 700/800 blocks of K, but many of the properties on R Street are not land the city owns. Some were purchased during the last run-up and are sitting vacant (or demolished) until the market gets better.

Going full steam ahead is pretty much impossible right now, seeing as there is very little steam. The city of Sacramento can't just take people's property and give it away, and it does not have unlimited funds to hand out to subsidize development (in fact, it doesn't have much funds at all these days.) So in the short term it seems most prudent to go after the low-hanging fruit: inexpensive but effective projects that make use of existing resources.

Obviously I'm a big fan of adaptive reuse, as that type of project tends to be less expensive than new construction, is more economically beneficial at the local level (restoration requires more labor) and more environmentally friendly (restoration requires less materials, energy and stuff going to the landfill.) Adaptive reuse can be the greenest projects of all.

The projects that have succeeded lately are the ones that are providing something unique: while many of the central city faux-urban-loft projects aren't selling worth a darn, projects like LJ Urban's Good and D&S Development's iLofts are selling like hotcakes, because their product is the genuine article. Instead of faux-styled townhomes billed as "lofts," D&S sells real ones. Instead of token greenwashing billed as "sustainable development," LJ Urban pioneered LEED-ND in the region and showcases their building's ground-breaking green features.

It's all about building a better mousetrap.
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  #6  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2009, 6:42 PM
nevernude nevernude is offline
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wburg, I appreciate your thoughts. I know the Railyards wont revert back to the city, I was following your logic that the land might be exchanged for a forgiveness of the debt. I also know that the city wont just take land for private development (Even though the Kelo case actually allows this). I was just dreaming of a situation that would get the highest profile land (Railyards, R St, K St, and now J St) in the hands of the city's brightest developers. Reuse is great if there are buildings there to be reused. Like I said, if Loftworks or D&S could do the rehab on the K St buildings that the city now owns, I think it would be very successful. We just need something more than more Class-A office space and hotels.
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  #7  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2009, 8:08 PM
Korey Korey is offline
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Yeah, I'd love to see D&S or Heller Pacific do some projects in the Railyards. I'd like the R St. area to be more Pearl like but the Railyards should be something different. I really hope that if we ever get it off the ground the boxcar parks idea stays, it's a pretty cool touch.

WBurg, I definitely agree that we need more real lofts, the ilofts blew my expectations away after years of seeing fake crap.

Also, is it true that there are areas with no height restrictions in the Railyards plan? That's awesome.

One thing I've always felt we needed to do here is integrate the river more, and not just in scattered developments like Township 9, Railyards, etc. Even in areas where the river is 100 yards away it doesn't have the presence that I think it should.
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  #8  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2009, 9:52 PM
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  #9  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2009, 10:22 PM
Korey Korey is offline
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Yeah, I'd definitely love to see Cap Mall become a canyon...
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  #10  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2009, 1:18 AM
SactownTom SactownTom is offline
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My wish list:

Cover the boat section of I-5. We can never take away the damage I-5 has done to our city, but lets try to fix as much as we can.

Mixed use on the R street corridor. This seems to be the place for young urbans are drawn to. Allow for plenty of bars/restaurants/retail at ground level. Lofts above.

Nice tall apartment buildings south of Capitol Mall.

More tall office buildings on Capitol Mall. I don’t think housing will work here.

Office towers along L Street. But please no more ugly parking structures stinking up the joint. (I’m talking to you, US Bank Building)

K Street seems to be morphing into an entertainment district. Let’s make that happen.

The Community Center Theather needs a facelift. Make it a glass fronted jewel box along Capitol Park.

Hotels along J Street. Let’s start with a Mandarin Oriental at 3rd and J where the Denny’s is. Is anyone else embarrassed that the first thing people see when the exit the free way is a parking lot for Denny’s?

Get moving on the DNA line. I'd like to see one go down Arden Way out to Sunrise Mall too.

Let D&S development have a crack at the old brick buildings in the Rivers District. I’d love to see what they could do with the area between 12th and 16th Street.

We need a real late night dance area. How about some of the old buildings in the Rivers District?

Faces and Badlands are fine, but we need a real sleazy gay club in this town. How about some of the old buildings in the Rivers District?

Better bike connector to Del Paso Blvd. from Downtown. I know it’s been tried before with only limited success, but this are should and can be an arts incubator. Maybe News and Review moving there will help.

Help transform the 65th Street/Elvis area into a more college friendly area. More pubs/ bookstores/headshops/clothing stores/live music venues/bike repair shops. The one bike tunnel on Elvis is great, but make it more porous between Elvis and Sac State with more tunnels.

The city is trying to make Power Inn Road the incubator area for green businesses. Work with Sac State to make it really happen. And forget about the idea of housing natural gas underground there. It’s unsafe.

Build a bridge at Broadway. Build another one at Sutterville Road. We need to be more connected with West Sac.

Stick to the community plan for Oak Park. NO parking lots fronting Broadway at all.

Get moving on the International Marketplace for the Stockton Blvd. corridor. This seems to be the only area in town immune from the economic slowdown. A street car down Stockton Blvd. would be outstanding. I’d really like to see a huge South East Asian Festival happen every spring. It would be a big regional draw.

Politically, the city should move towards a strong mayor system; making city council members full time and should incorporate parts of South Sac, Rosemont and Arden arcade into the city boundaries.
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  #11  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2009, 2:01 AM
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Originally Posted by SactownTom View Post
My wish list:
Stick to the community plan for Oak Park. NO parking lots fronting Broadway at all.
...
A street car down Stockton Blvd. would be outstanding.
What's funny is that there used to be a streetcar/interurban line to Oak Park that went down Broadway to 2nd Avenue, then down Stockton Blvd. and ending a stretch down 21st Avenue (if you go down 21st now the big grass area in the middle is where the streetcars, and freight trains, ran.)
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  #12  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2009, 2:20 AM
econgrad econgrad is offline
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What's funny is that there used to be a streetcar/interurban line to Oak Park that went down Broadway to 2nd Avenue, then down Stockton Blvd. and ending a stretch down 21st Avenue (if you go down 21st now the big grass area in the middle is where the streetcars, and freight trains, ran.)
I think I saw pictures of this at Sac State? Black and white on the wall of the building facing the rear parking lot, not on the freeway side the other side. Am I mistaken Wburg? It has been sometime...
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  #13  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2009, 2:34 AM
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I am not familiar with the picture you are referring to, but there are a lot of Sacramento streetcar photos floating about. The most common are of the PG&E cars, which actually took two separate lines from downtown to Oak Park; one via 28th Street down Broadway, another via 21st that turned on 2nd Avenue and meandered through Highland Park (now Curtis Park) past Oak Park/Joyland/McClatchy Park (depending on when) and ended at the old fairgrounds at Stockton & Broadway.

The line down Stockton belonged to Central California Traction, an interurban that ran from Sacramento to Stockton. In order to get the OK to carry freight and interurban passengers on tracks in Sacramento streets, they had to provide a local streetcar service, in addition to paying a city fee and maintaining the right-of-way.
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  #14  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2009, 8:13 AM
SactownTom SactownTom is offline
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A few more random thoughts:

Make the park across from Crocker Museum more inviting. There’s not even a sidewalk around most of it.

Get rid of the gas storage facilities on both sides of the Sacramento River. Move them to the Port of Sacramento in West Sac.

Anchor the entrance to the Docks Area with some sort of large sculpture garden like they have in Seattle. Work to get Sacramento some large iconic art pieces—but please no giant golden spikes.

Develop the waterfront from Miller Park marina to Richards Blvd with museums dotting the area. The plans for the science museum look promising. Connect that area to West Sac’s Indian Museum with a footbridge.

Turn the stretch of Broadway near Land Park into a restaurant row.

Arden Way from Ethan to Watt is showing its age, but there is plenty of room to build dense apartment housing on some of the lots. Extend the high limits for apartments to 6-8 stories. Reduce the roadway from 6 to 4 lanes. Widen the sidewalks and plant shade trees. Limit the parking requirement and extend light rail or a streetcar line out that way.

Do not allow Ed Kado to work in this town again.

Have Heather Fargo, Ray Thretheway, Angelo Tsakopoulos, and Phil Angelides meet in the parking lot of the Natomas Marketplace. Have them fill sandbags for the next year and make them distribute to all the houses in North Natomas.

Last edited by SactownTom; Feb 20, 2009 at 8:24 AM.
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  #15  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2009, 5:37 PM
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Nightlife & Transportation

My thoughts (which are pretty unrealistic, but in my mind would be awesome) are as follows:

NIGHTLIFE:

It seems like Sacramento's nightlife is growing in spite of the economic conditions. I think that could be enhanced.

I think we should lobby for a 4am last call in Sacramento City only. Maybe only on Friday and Saturday nights. This would make Sacto a destination location for night time partyers. Imagine how many people would come to Sacramento for a weekend party. Especially if we were the only city that is able to do this.

Old Town is very cut off from the rest of Sacramento and gets ghetto at night. The major pedestrian passage takes you through a creepy tunnel. I propose that we put a couple of night clubs under the freeway. 5 to be exact. They would be the 5 Under 5. The idea would be to lighten up that area and create a welcoming flow to the passage beneath the freeway. Live music venues would be awesome!

Capitol Towers needs a bar/nightclub at its base. Apparently it used to, but that is now the common area. BS. They need to open a bar or some kind of restaraunt on the first floor that is open at normal human hours instead of being closed by the time everybody gets off work.

TRANSPORTATION:

I agree with having 5 on the West side of the river, or even submerging it through the downtown corridor, but that is too unrealistic for my unrealistic rant, so I'll leave that one alone.

There really are too many transportation needs in the area, so I'll limit my comments to the ones that I think about on a daily basis.

How about we build a GD bridge across the river from Bradshaw to link up to where Manzanita/Fair Oaks Blvd should extend to. F the people that live there and are screwing up everybody's commute. It's only going to get worse.

And how about we have Light Rail make just 1 loop outside of downtown? I don't know, maybe down Sunrise or Watt. Let's also have it run all the way out to Sac State. How about Light Rail to Arden Fair? That would be awesome.

Lastly, let's just submerge Light Rail downtown. Just get it out of site and make it run at speeds faster than most people can run. If it was more like BART, that would be amazing.
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Old Posted Feb 20, 2009, 6:57 PM
Korey Korey is offline
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Get rid of the gas storage facilities on both sides of the Sacramento River. Move them to the Port of Sacramento in West Sac.
Yes, definitely! That is prime riverfront land, it needs to be put to better use.

Also, something needs to be done about that area north of Grant Park, between 16th and Bus 80. I know there was a crappy little proposal a while back, but I want that entire area to be a classy riverfront neighborhood with townhomes, a nice park, and maybe a condo project or two overlooking the water. Something other that bare land. And actual density, not squashed together faux urban development either.


Tom, you also mentioned making that whole Folsom/65th/Elvas area more college friendly. That should be ground zero for college type retail. I know it's possible through the tunnel but it feels almost like there's no real non car connection between that area and the school, and they're right next to each other. Get a small little park put in there, some pedestrian only streets, build everything up at least a few floors, and put some more connections under the railway. Free CSUS from the need to have a car.

-Something else needs to go up in West Sac as well, to complement Calstrs and the Zig (ugh). Preferrably residential, but anything that looks good, we lucked out that Calstrs looks as good as it does, if an ugly building went up it would be a major eyesore with the lack of density there. They need an area to become the focal point of their development. It would be nice if the proposals for the areas all get completed, but at least get a small, defineable area near Raley Field and use that as a catalyst to expand.
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  #17  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2009, 9:40 PM
econgrad econgrad is offline
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This is a fun thread to read. Thanks Korey.
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  #18  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2009, 2:51 AM
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The name of the bar in Capitol Towers was "Gilhooly's," a funky old peanut-shells-on-the-floor kind of place. Many state workers called it "Conference Room G" from its flock of state-employee regulars, or maybe as a covert way of saying "let's go get a couple of drinks on our lunch hour!"

The plans set for Capitol Towers is to replace the clusters of two-story apartments with several residential towers, 15-25 stories tall, with parking and retail at the bases. The open, parklike areas in between will remain.
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  #19  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2009, 6:44 PM
Rick'sSkyline Rick'sSkyline is offline
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Smile Downtown Development

Hello, folks!! I'm new to this, so I thought I'd post my first comments. Have been on here many times!! How would I develop Sacramento? Hmmm....I'd start downtown. For some reason, I've always envisioned J Street with having boutiques like in San Francisco's Hayes Valley and the Marina District. Not to mention a couple more high-rises and another boutique hotel along J Street (think W Hotel). As for K Street, I hope Joe Zeiden will go forward with his proposal and develop the 700 block of K Street (or is it the 800 block?) with his shops. Although, it would be interesting to see cars back on K Street. What would happen to the light rail? On L Street? Hurry up and move that Greyhound station!!! I can't stand driving by it sometimes!! Is that 701 L Street tower still proposed for that corner where Greyhound is now? And the railyards? Hmmm.....I hope they get the ball rolling on that pretty soon!! That would be great to see in a few years!! I hope the city can get the ball rolling on some new downtown projects soon.
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Old Posted Feb 21, 2009, 6:45 PM
Rick'sSkyline Rick'sSkyline is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
The name of the bar in Capitol Towers was "Gilhooly's," a funky old peanut-shells-on-the-floor kind of place. Many state workers called it "Conference Room G" from its flock of state-employee regulars, or maybe as a covert way of saying "let's go get a couple of drinks on our lunch hour!"

The plans set for Capitol Towers is to replace the clusters of two-story apartments with several residential towers, 15-25 stories tall, with parking and retail at the bases. The open, parklike areas in between will remain.
Any new word on that proposal to replace the old apartments with the towers?
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