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Development in Sacramento suffered some significant setbacks in 2010. But there were modest moves forward as well, making for a mixed picture heading into 2011.
The focus was on five major projects, which included:
1. The Railyards
A suburban Chicago real estate investment firm, the Inland Real Estate Group of Companies, took ownership of most of Sacramento's historic downtown railyards in a courthouse foreclosure auction held in October. Inland foreclosed on the 203-acre Railyards site after then-owner Thomas Enterprises defaulted on nearly $194 million in loans in June. The two sides had been negotiating on a loan extension for several months but failed to agree on terms. Since October, Inland has been working with city, state and independent contractors to keep infrastructure construction going on such projects as the Fifth and Sixth street bridges and railroad track relocation.
The bridges are expected to be done in January. Work on the $60 million railroad track relocation was delayed after bids came in $12 million over budget in May and Thomas defaulted. In August, the City Council approved a track relocation redesign as part of the first phase of the new train station and public transit center being built adjacent to downtown's Sacramento Valley Station. The city delayed seeking new bids for relocation construction from fall 2010 to January. Inland was scheduled to publicly discuss its approach to the site for the first time at a City Council meeting Dec. 14. The presentation was postponed until early January.
2. Sacramento Arena
The city of Sacramento spent a large portion of 2010 trying to find a workable plan to build a new multipurpose arena to house the Sacramento Kings and host music and other events. Seven development teams made brief, public pitches at City Hall in January. Mayor Kevin Johnson formed an arena task force to consider the proposals. The task force recommended three plans as the top contenders in March. In April, the City Council approved an exclusive negotiation agreement with the Sacramento Convergence Team, a group led by developers Gerry Kamilos and David Taylor. That team lost its exclusive negotiating rights in October after failing to sell Cal Expo officials on their idea: to move the state fairgrounds to the area around Arco Arena and to then allow private development of the existing fairgrounds, which would clear the way to build an arena on city-owned property at the downtown railyards. The mayor reopened the process and set a noon Thursday deadline for new and modified proposals.
3. K Street Mall
Movement also took place on K Street Mall. The most important development took place in July, when the Sacramento City Council chose two teams — one led by D & S Development, Inc., and CFY Development, Inc., and the other by Sacramento developer David Taylor — to revitalize the troubled 700 and 800 blocks. Work continued in 2010 on the $4.5 million project by the city and Sacramento Regional Transit to renovate St. Rose of Lima Park and the 700 block streetscape. The City Council also allowed bikes to return to K Street Mall and paved the way for cars to return in 2011.
The Downtown Sacramento Partnership hired a retail recruiter to help reduce vacancies, upgrade the retail mix and support business owners in the 66-block property-based business improvement district. Work also got under way on several new K Street Mall businesses. San Francisco nightclub owner George Karpaty’s crew worked through 2010, and he expects to open Dive Bar, Pizza Rock and District 30 at 1016, 1020 and 1022 K St. in January. Ernesto Delgado also expects to open his Tequila Museo Mayahuel at 12th and K streets in early 2011. Vive Cocina opened in February next to St. Rose of Lima Park
Meanwhile, a grand opening for St. Rose of Lima Park's renovation wasn't held during summer as planned following a conflict that kept the city from turning on the park's new interactive water fountain, or sprayground.
4. Docks Area Riverfront Promenade
In June, the city marked the completion of Pioneer Landing Park and the first phase of the $15 million Docks Area Riverfront Promenade with a ground breaking. The $5.4 million first phase included the park and 1,200 feet of parkway from O Street to R Street. The one-mile promenade is expected to provide a paved path connecting Old Sacramento and Miller Park by 2013 or 2014.
The first phase was paid for with money from State Proposition 40, State Proposition 1B street improvement funds, redevelopment tax increment financing and development impact fees from parks. The city has already applied for nearly $5 million in Proposition 84 grant funding from the state to finance most of the promenade's second phase. The third phase, which would also cost about $5 million, is expected to start in 2013 if funding is available. An estimated $14 million in infrastructure for the Docks Area had been expected to begin between mid-2011 and the start of 2012. The start of infrastructure work is expected to be postponed while the city seeks funding.
Just across I-5 from the Riverfront Promenade and connected by the O Street bridge and refurbished bike and pedestrian viaduct at R Street was the $100 million expansion of the Crocker Art Museum.
5. River District
City staff unveiled the River District Specific Plan, which the City Council is expected to vote on in January. A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new, temporary Greyhound bus terminal in August. The $5.4 million bus station is being built at 420 Richards Blvd. on about 1.75 acres in the Discovery Centre development in the River District. The old Greyhound terminal at Seventh and L streets is expected to close in 2011. The bus terminal will eventually move to the new regional transit facility expected to be built in the Railyards development within eight to 15 years.
Work also continued on Sacramento Regional Transit's new green line from downtown to the River District, and eventually, to the airport. Utilities were relocated, track foundation was laid and some overhead poles to hold wire were installed. The line is expected to open in mid-2011, but no date has been determined. In September, Sacramento's Discovery Museum and its partners sought the community's help in applying for $7 million in state grants to build the Powerhouse Science Center. PG&E readied the site near the vacant 99-year-old PG&E power station on Jibboom Street for construction. Museum officials hope to break ground in late 2011 or early 2012 and open the new museum in late 2013 or early 2014.
First photo by Brandon Darnell. Arena graphic provided by the CORE group. Other photos by Suzanne Hurt, a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Twitter @SuzanneHurt.