Redevelopment projects for the 700 and 800 blocks of K Street cleared a final hurdle on their way to the Sacramento City Council when the city’s Preservation Commission approved both Thursday night.
The commission called a special meeting to consider the final major design components after both projects were approved by the Planning Commission last week. A City Council vote of approval, which will be set for sometime in June, would mean groundbreaking could finally begin on two key blocks of K Street Mall that have long been eyesores.
The projects will add 337 mixed-income apartments in the downtown core, rehab the landmark Bel-Vue Apartments and restore all but one of the building façades on the south side of the 700 block of K Street. The projects were both approved unanimously by the five commissioners present.
Activists in the city’s preservation and housing communities have worked long and hard for housing and historic preservation there. The community raised an outcry over a previous project that proposed tearing down the Bel-Vue, recalled Preservation Commission Chair Karen Jacques.
"Finally, we are going to see some really nice development on both the 700 and the 800 blocks of K Street. That’s a huge boost for this city," she said. "Those two blocks have been a disaster for so long. With these projects, the historic buildings are getting saved."
The special meeting was held Thursday, rather than waiting for the commission’s next scheduled meeting in June, to get the projects to the council as soon as possible. The projects may qualify for redevelopment funding that is at risk of being lost if Gov. Jerry Brown abolishes redevelopment agencies to help solve the state’s budget woes.
No one is certain when that might happen. Some officials and developers fear it could be as soon as June 30.
In addition, developers want to get the projects under way to get lower bids during an economic downturn when little construction is taking place, said YHLA Architects principal Bob Lindley, who represented developers of the 800 block before the commission.
Commissioners also approved establishing a Preservation Commission subcommittee to meet with the developers of the 800 block: David Taylor Interests, Domus Development and the city’s Redevelopment Agency, which is the property owner. The subcommittee will work with the developers on minor changes and was set up Thursday night to help expedite the project.
Plans for the 800 block are to rehab the landmark Bel-Vue Apartments at 1123 Eighth St. and integrate the historic property with a new addition and an adjacent new building at 800 K St., bringing 200 new or renovated apartments to the block. The entire project will contain 23,000 square feet of retail space.
The four-story 801 L St. building will be constructed as an addition to the three-story Bel-Vue. The combined structure will be nearly 82,000 square feet with 56 residential units and 11,000 square feet of retail and 10,000 square feet of ground-level parking.
The Bel-Vue building’s ground-floor retail storefronts will be renovated and wrapped around the alley corner so that it faces the alley. The Bel-Vue’s 26 apartments will be modernized, brought up to code and outfitted with bigger kitchens and bathrooms. Non-historic buildings will be demolished to make way for the new addition, which will feature a landscaped internal courtyard.
The corner of Eighth and K streets, which has long sat empty, will hold a nearly 193,000-square-foot, six-story building with 12,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, 144 apartments, a landscaped, internal courtyard and basement parking. The exterior of the 800 K St. building will be a modern interpretation of the Art Deco style.
For the 700 block, developers D & S Development, Inc., and CFY Development Inc. – led by David Miry, son Bay Miry and partner Steve Lebastchi, and Cyrus Youssefi and his son, Ali Youssefi – will build a six-story apartment building with 137 units and a parking garage that’s nearly 28,000 square feet.
The backs of six buildings will be demolished to make way for construction of the apartment building. The number of apartments was decreased from 153 to incorporate the commission’s earlier suggestions to make the rooftop and alley-facing exterior less flat, Ali Youssefi told the commission.
The project also would involve restoring all storefronts except one and turn 64,881 square feet of retail into a live music club, four restaurants with bars and shops. The block would feature sidewalk patio seating in front of nearly every ground-floor space, open-air mezzanines and rooftop decks for dining, bars or residential use.
Groundbreaking for work in the 700 block is expected to happen by the end of 2011 or early 2012. The project should be completed within two years, Youssefi said.
Groundbreaking for the 800 block project is expected to begin in early spring of 2012. The project should be completed by late 2013, said Ellen Warner, a partner at David S. Taylor Interests.
Suzanne Hurt is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Twitter @SuzanneHurt.