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Developers break ground for Township Nine’s Cannery Place

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The River District continues to move forward. California Lottery moved in mid-2011, followed by a Light Rail Green Line station in June of last year. Popular food truck Krush Burger will open its first establishment on the ground floor of the California Lottery building in two weeks, and on Wednesday, Township Nine officially broke ground for its first housing unit, Cannery Place.

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Scott Syphax opened the groundbreaking ceremony by pointing out at the tilled earth of the mostly vacant lot which had previously been home to Bercut-Richards cannery, before it was demolished to make way for Township Nine.

“Back in 1999, this place looked like the set of Robocop…at the end of the movie,” said Syphax, President of NCRF Holdings and CEO of The Nehemiah Companies, primary backers of the project. “Cannery Place is the culmination of hopes, dreams, hard work and creativity.”

The apartment complex will include 180 units, all of which will be wheelchair accessible, a community center and interior courtyard. The building is slated for completion by Oct. of 2014. It, as well as all further buildings constructed in Township Nine, will be LEED certified and use state-of-the art technology with a fiber optics system in each unit.

The developers’ vision for Township Nine and The River District as a whole is to create a sustainable community with easy access to all that Sacramento has to offer.

“Imagine 7th Street closed off, and a street fair along the parkway,” said Ron Mellon, the developer for Township Nine.

Township Nine will ultimately also include a playground and a 4,000-person capacity amphitheatre to host outdoor events on the riverfront. Mellon also pointed to the connection with the American River bike trail leading to Folsom, Discovery Park across the river and easy access to Downtown, Midtown and Old Sacramento.

The next step, though, is more housing. More specifically, a 150 unit market-rate multi-family apartment complex, followed by a 185-car garage for the River District’s first residents in many, many years.

Currently developers are building from the back, with the front portion of Township Nine reserved for a potential office complex. According to Mellon, Township Nine is partnering with a significant office developer with the hope of bringing in a significant state tenant to the site. If that doesn’t work, they’ll look for a smaller business or possibly build more housing.

Mayor Kevin Johnson lauded the project for its contribution to the local economy, pointing out that project will create 200 construction jobs, in addition to the 3,000 jobs Township Nine will create upon its completion.

“The only thing better than a ground breaking is a ribbon cutting,” said Mayor Johnson, “so we’re on the right track.”

The development plan will use the light rail and bike paths as well as pedestrian walkways to connect neighborhoods within the district as well as to the nearby areas of downtown, Midtown and Old Sacramento. The intention is to create a walkable area in which people can work and live.

“This is a model of what we’ve been talking about,” said District 3 Councilman Steve Cohn. “Having people live, work and play in an area where they don’t have to have cars.”

Cohn is eager to see Cannery Place’s first residents pave the way for Township Nine’s future.

“They will be the first people to live in this area in a very long time,” he said, “the first of many to come.”

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