Mayor’s team chooses K Street developers

An ad hoc committee led by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is backing the developers of the Citizen Hotel to redevelop the 700 and 800 blocks of K Street Mall with a huge public market as the centerpiece.

The committee, made up of four City Council members – Steve Cohn, Rob Fong, Ray Tretheway and Johnson – is recommending that the Sacramento Alliance Team led by Rubicon Partners, St. Anton Partners and Preferred Capital Advisors be given the project to revamp city-owned property on those blocks, according to a city staff report released Thursday afternoon.

The City Council is set to vote on the matter Tuesday.

Last month, a special committee set up by the city recommended two other teams to handle the redevelopment. The Downtown Sacramento Partnership endorsed those selections. Since then, intense lobbying and social media network tools have been used by teams vying for the work.

The project being recommended by the ad hoc committee would center around a 35,000-square-foot public market, tentatively called the California Boqueria, that would showcase the state’s food and wine at the corner of Eighth and K streets. The team also proposed an adjacent office building for agricultural tenants such as produce associations and statewide groups. They’re proposing 213 artist live/work units and 60,000 square feet of retail on the 700 block.

The team includes Kipp Blewett and Pete Thompson of Rubicon, Grange Executive Chef Michael Tuohy, Steve Eggert and Pete Geremia of St. Anton Partners, and Dan Corfee and Craig Zarro of Preferred Capital Advisors.

Four teams presented proposals in February. A committee set up by the city had recommended D & S Development, Inc., and CFY Development, Inc., to redevelop the 700 block and a group led by Sacramento developer David Taylor and Z Gallerie owner Joe Zeiden to take on the 800 block. The fourth team was made up of Bridge Housing, Saca Development and Bagatelos Development LLC.


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July 8, 2010 | 5:55 PM


July 8, 2010 | 8:29 PM

The Rubicon proposal has too much financial uncertainty. Look at the Staff Report closely. The recommendation made by the Selection Committee, Downtown Sacramento Partnership, and Sacramento Old City Association is the correct one. Staff says on page 9 flat out that the parking bonds Rubicon seeks are not possible! And permit fee waivers are expected too!? Yeah right!

If anything, it’s the Rubicon proposal offering very little substance…financial substance, that is…

July 8, 2010 | 8:44 PM

The staff report really is some interesting reading.

This isn’t a final decision–this is the result of an “ad-hoc” City Council subcommittee consisting of Mayor Johnson and the three city council members in the central city (Tretheway, Cohn, Fong.) It’s a very political decision–they chose the dramatic and expensive project, while the city-appointed committee of architects, planners and city staff chose the reasonably-priced project.

This decision, along with the staff report, goes to city council this Tuesday the 13th. At that meeting, Council will decide whether to enter an Exclusive Right to Negotiate with Rubicon.

Some interesting bits from the staff report:

Page 2: “As this plan was broader than the RFQ requirements, staff requested a revised proposal with project concept and finance plan clarifying what could be developed on Agency-owned property. No consideration was given to the inclusion or acquisition of the non-Agency-owned parcels since the RFQ was based on property owned by the Agency.”

Page 4: “The Selection Committee met three times to review the initial RFQ responses, conduct developer interviews, and evaluate additional information. Based on the qualifications, proposed concepts, proposed financing plans and evaluation criteria in the RFQ, the Selection Committee recommended that Promenade on K (D&S Development and CFY Development) be selected for the 700 block of K Street, and that the 700/800 Block LLC (David Taylor Interest, the CIM Group, Domus Development and Zeiden Properties) be selected for the Agency sites on the 800 blocks of K and L Streets.”

Page 7: “The project cost, assuming free land for the revised plan (only for development on Agency-owned property), is projected to be $210M with a public subsidy need of $99M. Identified subsidies total $19M with a subsidy gap of approximately $80M. In addition, the team is proposing a parking bond of $25M to construct on-site parking. (Note: At this time, there is no identified capacity for the City to issue this $25M debt.”

Page 8: Project Costs/Funding Sources (for project on Agency-owned property)
(note: figures are 700 Block + 800 Block)
Private Equity/Debt: $110.88M
Public Resources
Agency Tax Increment $14.8M+$14.23M
Agency Contribution for Hist/CEQA $1M+$1M
Permit Fee Credits $3.35M+$4.35M
Public Resources (State/Federal) $36M
Subtotal Public Resources $19.15M+$55.58M=$74.73M
Parking Bond $14.45M+$10.28M=$24.73M
Maximum Tax Increment Currently Available $19M
Unidentified Funding Gap $80.46M

The total proposed project cost is $210.34M with $110.9M of private debt and equity and a balance of $99.46M proposed from public or public/private sources.”

page 8-9:”At this time, the Agency has approximately $19M of unobligated commercial and low/moderate income income funds available to support new projects in the Downtown area. No additional funds are anticipated for approximately two years.
“As part of the proposed finance plan as listed above, the team is proposing a public/private parking bond of $25M to build necessary parking. During these economic times, the City does not anticipate issuing any additional bonds or incurring any City backed debt thus alternatives would have to be developed for the parking elements of the project.
“It will be the development team’s responsibility to further refine concepts and identify funding to fill the gap during the ERN performance period.”

Public outreach is listed on page 18, including endorsements of the Selection Committee recommendation (the D&S/Taylor split plan) by the Downtown Sacramento Partnership and the Sacramento Old City Association.

So…the city has $19 million in redevelopment funds. Rubicon is asking for $99 million, including forgiveness of about $8 million in projected development fees, and around $2 million from the city to pay for environmental review documents. The $25 million parking bond is above and beyond that $99 million, for a grand total of $124 million in public subsidy. So, they are asking a city that just had to slash programs left and right to fill a $44 million deficit to provide, in addition to all the money in our redevelopment fund, twice the amount of the last deficit, PLUS bankroll a $25 million bond (while the bond market is sluggish at best and the city is in no position to be borrowing money) AND they somehow obtain another $100 million in the current lending/housing market from private investors.

July 9, 2010 | 12:36 AM

Mr Burg… sometime we just need to GO FOR IT and plan big… For all your numbers it doesn’t change the fact that the other ‘doable’ project is mediocre, and thinks small.

Remember Elk Grove chased cheap housing, because it was ‘doable’ and look where they are.

For once get your head out of the reports and into the clouds.

July 9, 2010 | 7:40 AM

Also remember Elk Grove chased a mall, too…that has certainly been a “game changer.”

Sometimes we need to go for it and plan big…which is why we have the Railyards, and Township 9, and the Docks, and the three-way “Convergence”, and other projects. Is it necessary that we “go for it and plan big” for every project–especially the one place where “going for it” has failed us over the past 50 years, and the most recent successes have involved fixing existing buildings?

And your unwillingness to look at the numbers doesn’t change the fact that the city of Sacramento does not have the money to do this project.

July 8, 2010 | 8:48 PM

Yup, $124 million in public subsidy. Ludicrous.

Would I be deemed a visionary genius if I propose to build 25 Dubai like towers throughout the central city but just need $400 billion in city subsidy to do it?!

July 8, 2010 | 9:02 PM

I know a few skyscraper enthusiasts who would, but generally they think there’s a magical money machine in the basement at City Hall.

July 8, 2010 | 8:52 PM

Slashing programs and doing rolling brown outs of fire stations to balance our 2010-2011 Budget. Yeah we’re really able to support this project.

July 8, 2010 | 11:21 PM

I’ve been following this K Street discussion for several weeks now and attempted to shed some light on most of the comments expressed above in earlier SacPress articles. I greatly respect the passion and time everyone places on a public project discussion of this kind, but . . . few of you seemed to be willing to consider other explanations to your conclusions.

Does everyone really think that the four members of the Ad-hoc committee, all publicly elected officials, and the members of The Sacramento Alliance Team (made up of Rubicon Partners, St Anton Partners, and Preferred Capital Advisors, with respective resumes of $400M of Commercial Development, 4,000 Residential Units Owned and Managed, and $4.5B of Real Estate Transactions, who have been involved is such projects as The Citizen Hotel, The St Anton Bldg at 2110 L St, MAARS, and The R St Safeway Project – many which involved forms of Public Funding) are involved in a conspiracy to rob the City blind?

If these groups had this intention, why would they do it in a highly public process like this one? There are other ways to steal from Municipal coffers that are much less visible, with higher chances of success.

Furthermore, no one has considered what the result of a larger project with Civic Amenities, Entertainment and Dense Workforce Housing over Unique Retail Establishments that attract customers from through-out the region is:
-more construction and permanent jobs,
-more sales tax generated,
-more real estate tax generated,
-more blight removed,
-new visitors to our Downtown,
-more cars parked in our empty parking garages in the evenings and on weekends,
-more business to the existing shops and restaurants on K Street,
-less cannibalization of local neighborhoods, etc.
When Sacramento gets more, We all win. All of us.

We are better than this, Sacramento. We have such amazing Potential, it’s time to Unlock it.

The members of the Ad-Hoc Committee and the Sacramento Alliance have a proven track record of Making Sacramento Better Tomorrow than it was Yesterday. Why would this change on the 700/800 Blocks of K Street?

July 8, 2010 | 11:55 PM

In the case of the four councilmembers involved, I don’t know, other than they were apparently dazzled by the desire to have a Big Flashy Project On K Street That Requires Entirely Ridiculous Amounts Of Capitalization To Adequately Describe. In the case of the investors, I think they’ll take whatever they think they can get. This isn’t theft–they are asking, through proper channels, to legally be given $124 million the city doesn’t have. If the project doesn’t work out, they didn’t do anything technically wrong or illegal, and their risk has been minimized through public investment. Nobody is accusing your boss of conspiracy or outright theft (although Jim Knapp hasn’t weighed in yet, and he might not rule it out.)

But, to be honest, any time I am told that skepticism is a Bad Thing, and that I should simply have faith in the good judgment and ability of people who have more money than I do to be good guardians of the public trust, I instinctively check to see if anyone’s hand is on my wallet.

July 11, 2010 | 10:46 AM

to J-E Paino – you are on payroll for Rubicon. It’s helpful for everyone if you disclose that. Most of us are in this ‘debate’ as citizens and are not paid representative of the development teams. You, however, are and need to disclose that.

July 9, 2010 | 12:40 AM

In the end I predict David Taylor will get the project this is all smoke and mirrors – the blatant bid steering to David Taylor over the years has gotten soooo blatant that they want it to look like a competition and a fight for the project…

Council members will use this project to leverage more campaign money from Taylor.

July 9, 2010 | 10:30 PM

Are you an employee of Taylors or his cousin LisaB?

July 11, 2010 | 1:51 PM

I think our ‘stories’ are very similar
but first things first, I’m a hell of a lot more than just a staffer.

I chose to live in Sacramento for many of the same reasons everyone is here, Sacramento is a great City with tons of potential.
And I primarily contribute to this ‘debate’ (if that’s what you want to call it) to set the record straight.
Equally I participate because I care about Sacramento’s future, and face it anyone that lives here has a vested interest, whether financial or otherwise, in the success of K Street and Downtown Sacramento.
If this was all about $ for me I would not be responding your comments on a Sunday afternoon.

July 11, 2010 | 3:49 PM

I hope Taylor does get it cause then it might actually get built.

Jim; just because someone likes a project and is opposed like you are to a 125 million dollar developer giveaway doesn’t mean they’re on someones payroll. J-E Paino is another story – he clearly does have a vested financial interest, and you’re not going after him with the same fervor. How Come? While you don’t deserve the dignity of a response here it is. I am a citizen of this city and love this city and love downtown and want to see it thrive. Period. Sorry it’s not very exciting but it is what it is.

July 11, 2010 | 9:39 PM

So Mr. Paino, you’re a hell of a lot more than just a staffer…what exactly is your role in the project?

July 9, 2010 | 1:07 AM

Theft? No. Too strong of an adjective.
Misleading? Yes. Inaccurate? Yes. Totally outright NOT POSSIBLE? Absolutely.

Paino, you’ve been all over these comments. So let’s see answers to my key questions and be done with it. Staff report says parking bonds aren’t possible. So how are you going to obtain? Don’t just say it’s been possible in other cities. And same with permit fee waivers? And same with equity evidence? And same with construction lender? Can you confirm that you’ve obtained? Staff Report says NONONO! Finally, why did THREE significant groups NOT vote for Rubicon?

July 9, 2010 | 7:51 AM

Two questions. Is this public market going to be some sort of upscale high rent farmers market? Isn’t that an oxymoron?

July 9, 2010 | 8:03 AM

Yes, that is exactly the idea–an upscale, high-rent farmer’s market, selling specialty high-end products. A boutique farmer’s market, which is why they’re calling it a “boqueria” instead of just “farmer’s market.”

July 9, 2010 | 1:20 PM

lol – an “upscale” farmers market – what a joke – Sacramento is not upscale and farmers markets are supposed to be affordable -

The urban yuppies and hipsters can go blow their money at Whole Foods all on their own – stop forcing tax payers at gun point to fund projects like these – stop making politically connected cronies wealthy off the backs of average hard working Americans.

July 11, 2010 | 1:54 PM

what you are describing is the Business Model of the Ferry Building in SF.
The farmers market portion of the Boqueria will be based on the markets under the WX Freeway, and Cesar Chavez Plaza, operated by the same Co-op, and would have no reason to be priced any differently-that wouldn’t be a sustainable business model

July 11, 2010 | 5:56 PM

Except of course that the rent for a new building will be much higher than the rent for use of an outdoor space…which means either (a) the veggies will have to cost a lot more, or (b) someone else is paying for the difference.

And if this is no different than the farmer’s market under the W/X freeway, why not put the “boqueria” there instead? Or in the Westfield mall, in the main open-air area next to Macy’s and the theater? Or one of a dozen other useful but vacant spaces in the central city?

And why are you so scared to talk about the other portions of the project–like the other half of the project that takes place off of city land, and involves the demolition of other historic buildings? Or the condo tower/hotel, or office building? Where is the rest of your plan?

July 11, 2010 | 9:08 PM

J-E, How is it possible that you can build a 125 million dollar farmers market and have it be competitive with a parking lot under a freeway? Is there a money fairy? While I’m not an Arithmatition, I can count to ten and even I can see that this is a sweetheart deal for these developers. This project is doomed to failure. At a time when most city pools are only open for 2 months, 2 hours a day, and not Sundays, and I never know when, or if my leaf pile will be picked up, 125 million in additional municipal debt seems not just stupid but almost criminal.

July 11, 2010 | 9:27 PM

If you had shown as much interest in understanding what the Boqueria is as you do in taking pot shots at it you would know the answer to those questions. I’ll help you out, you probably have been busy of late.
The Boqueria is much more than a Farmer’s Market.
It is a Center for the Central Valley’s Food & Agricultural Community to Communicate and Educate the importance of Their Products to The World, thus the importance of the location. The Capitol is the Policy Center of the 8th largest economy in the world. The Food and Ag Community want to associated with California in the minds of visitors and dignitaries from other parts of the US and the World.

The farmer’s selling oranges to you and me would be paying the same rent they pay now-enough to make it worthwhile to bring their best products to Sacramentans.

July 12, 2010 | 1:54 PM

okay…so where are the guarantees (in the form of signed contracts, not letters of interest) from the Central Valley’s Food & Agricultural Community That They Will Actually Provide Sufficient Funding on an Ongoing and Permanent Basis, Or Are This City’s Taxpayers Expected To Bankroll The Project And Support It Forever? And Why is the Boqueria The Fifth And Final Phase of the Project, Not The First?

July 12, 2010 | 9:59 PM

J-E, You’re right. I’m trying to understand the Boqueria project. I haven’t found much though. There’s apparently no specific data to be had on the net that I can find. I’ve found a website that I think is their official site though. This is what I’ve found there.

Maintenance Mode

700 Block “Promenade on K” is currently undergoing scheduled maintenance.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Wow. Scheduling maintenance on the eve of the big vote? Isn’t this supposed to be a website specifically designed to inform the public prior to a counsel vote? I’m not naturally cynical. I’ve become cynical over the years because of this type of crap. When people make an effort to deny the people information at critical times like this it raises red flags with flashing lights and fireworks to me. Maybe you could enlighten me as to the specifics of the project. Particularly how it will be paid for.

July 9, 2010 | 9:58 AM

Let’s get Nugget, Raley’s or Whole Foods in on this and integrate the Boqueria with a larger concept, of an actual grocery store in the downtown area. The boqueria is great and all, but are all these new residents of downtown going to live off of produce, wine and cheese alone? And another thing… in regards to the rendering. I think I’ve seen about thirty different architectural renderings in the past 12-18 months, none of which have even begun to look like actual buildings, save for the mermaid bar, geriatric rhythm, and pizza rock. Enough with all the “render-smut” and build something! Stop getting my hopes up!

July 9, 2010 | 3:24 PM

I spoke with Bay Miry of D&S about this: one thing they wish to include on the 700 block is a mid-sized family grocery, not a full-sized supermarket but something at neighborhood scale, with fresh produce and flowers set up on the street and moderately-priced groceries inside. This kind of market is common in places like San Francisco (and actually used to be common in Sacramento–the Bel-Vue’s ground floor was originally just such a market!) but lacking in our own region. And I’d agree, while I like the idea of a farmer’s market, a more practical and reasonably priced grocery market is a better idea–one that D&S has picked up on, and wants to include in their plan.

July 9, 2010 | 10:51 AM

There is so much skepticism and reluctance when it comes to proposing new developments. I certainly hope that, that fear doesn’t prevent us from reaching for greatness. We constantly whittle away our ideas and visions at the earliest stages so that they somehow feel ‘achievable’ before we’ve even realized if they may not be. As a designer, we learn to not edit ourselves out of reluctance, but to constantly push our ideas further and further and ask what if anything were possible? What would we do then?

Reviving K street and downtown Sacramento is not about what’s easiest, or cheapest, or simply preserving the old or replacing it with the new, but about crafting fresh, rich experiential ideas that transcend. Ideas that are not only bold, but imaginative and energetic, that say here you are, and there is no place like it.

The concept of a regional market is as old as trade itself, it predates our entire country and draws inspiration from the oldest market places of Europe, Asia and the Middle East. I want amenities like the Boqueria in my city because I grew up in California and I know and love all it has to offer. To me the Boqeuria is a destination portal, through which we can see, taste and feel California’s legacy of food and abundance in all it’s glory and share it with the rest of the world. In my humble opinion The Boqueria is not a ‘flashy’ cover up but a genuine attempt at creating greatness and flaunting our natural resources, the earth, the sea, the sun and all the abundance it yields for us.

We need more big dreamers, wild-eyed visionaries and unbridled entrepreneurs to lead us into a future of greatness.

July 9, 2010 | 1:17 PM

You can dream all you want, just don’t do it with my tax dollars, you and the corporate welfare recipients can use your own money.

July 9, 2010 | 3:58 PM

This isn’t about a vision vs. a lack of vision, but a different vision. Where some people see old buildings and think “what horrible ugly blight, tear them down!” others see gems in the rough, treasures too valuable and rare to be wasted. Where some people like J. Paino and Rubicon consider preservation too risky to bother with, others think destroying something unique and irreplaceable is a far greater risk. Where some consider local businesses to be unpredictable and unknown quantities, preferring the conservative choice of national chains, others consider them worth the risk for the unique quality of their offerings and their home-team enthusiasm. Where some want to cling to the safety of the dying model of suburban, car-centric cities where suburbanites flock to urban amenities and go home, leaving only a handful of elites to live in high-rise skyscrapers, others would rather see sustainable, integrated cities. Where some want to see full parking lots and streets crowded with cars, others want to see cities full of pedestrians, bikes and streetcars, where cars are just one of many transportation choices–and those seeking lots to build start eyeing underutilized parking structures instead of century-old landmark buildings for their projects. Where some think that Sacramento has nothing to offer the world in its current state, others seek to share the amazing qualities of a city that too often takes itself for granted.

I certainly consider myself a big dreamer and a wild-eyed visionary. I see nothing wrong with dreaming big dreams. But I am also a person who wants my dreams to come to life–and in order to do that, I have to deal with reality.

As to the Boqueria, it is absolutely a bit of flash, because whenever people start asking questions about other elements of the project, like the high-rise condo that resembles the one that failed during the biggest housing boom in generations, or the high-rise hotel that resembles the one that was rejected for this same site, or the facadist plan for the 700 block that resembles one that was rejected as being too expensive when the city still had a budget surplus, or the simple fact that city staff realize that we just plain don’t have the money for this (even if the electeds don’t realize it) the Rubicon crew wave it around like a red cloak in front of a bull yelling “BOQUERIA BOQUERIA BOQUERIA!” That is, in itself, the very definition of a distraction and a red herring, regardless of the idea’s own merits.

A public market is nothing new to Sacramento–we have had several public market buildings (or just set them up as open-air markets) dating back to the era just after the Gold Rush when people realized that the land here was amazingly good for growing things. There are still several wholesale farmer’s markets adjacent to the central city. But if a public market has its own merits, let it stand on its own merits, instead of using it as a wedge to convince people to support a laughably bad project.

July 9, 2010 | 10:33 PM

Burg – again, you can dream all you want, just don’t do it with my tax dollars, you and the corporate welfare recipients can use your own money for your fantasies.

July 9, 2010 | 10:43 PM

Jim: If that’s how you feel about it, be sure to email the city council and tell them to vote against the Rubicon proposal–that is the $125 million (in public dollars) boondoggle they have proposed supporting this coming Tuesday night!

July 10, 2010 | 10:41 AM

Dont worry, they will give it to Taylor

July 9, 2010 | 11:13 AM

From Staff Report:
“No additional funds are anticipated for approximately two years. As part of the proposed finance plan as listed above, the team is proposing a public/private parking bond of $25M to build necessary parking. During these economic times, the City does not anticipate issuing any additional bonds or incurring any City backed debt thus alternatives would have to be developed for the parking elements of the project.”

July 9, 2010 | 10:34 PM

A $25 MILLION dollar parking bond could easily end up costing $40-60 MILLION in the end with interest depending on the terms of the bond.

July 9, 2010 | 12:51 PM

If this passes, it will be your classic demolish historical old buildings, run out of funding and leave a gaping hole in the ground. We still have vacant lots/parking lots left from the 60′s in downtown. I really hope this doesn’t get chosen. Those of us have spent time the buildings and basements of the 700 block know how great those buildings are.

Profile photo of ccc
July 9, 2010 | 5:46 PM

so true. amazing spots with plenty of local significance

July 11, 2010 | 8:24 AM

Just like at The Cal West Insurance Building at 926 J Street (currently The Citizen Hotel), I’m sure the Rubicon Team will present and represent Sacramento’s History in a First Class way.

July 11, 2010 | 10:08 AM

And by “just like,” in this case he means “completely different,” since instead of an interior demo and modifying a portion of the exterior, this plan will entirely demolish some of the historic buildings and mostly demolish the rest, leaving maybe a couple of walls, gutted and lifeless as a stuffed and mounted hunting trophy.

July 11, 2010 | 1:43 PM

Lisa, some of your comments are spot on, but the Citizen was not gutted, that’s just not the case. All the lobbies have been completely and beautifully restored.

July 11, 2010 | 3:39 PM

Rubicon gutted 90% of the Cal Western Bldg but did leave the exterior in tact, albiet significantly altered. Rubicon’s M.O. for K Street is as described in the concept drawings: scrub both half blocks entirely if you can and do the least amount of token preservation possible – saving a wall or two because you have to not because you care about our historic urban core. Our landmarks are in the way and an obstacle – the concept drawings and project scope make that crystal clear. Rubicon will destroy the Bel Vue, also built by George Sellon – the same architect who built the Citizen Hotel, and the other landmarks on the site. This time Rubicon saves even less – even more old growth timber and building materials in the dumpster. Did anyone see the huge mess and waste the Citizen ‘rehab’ made? It was attrocious and a total insult to those who care about the environment and putting more stuff in landfills. And this time Rubicon will save even less. Saving the first foot of a building is not preservation and is an abomination to our history, not treating it in a first class way. Rubicons plans are shiny but vision? Really? It’s really no more than a market research study and vague interest from a few chain businesses that were successful in other cities. I recall earlier one of the Rubicon Principals comparing us to Reno for example – good one. The drawings and project scope make it clear Rubicon has little or no respect for what makes this city special. Rubicon treating our landmarks with sensetivity? That is a first class lie.

July 11, 2010 | 5:53 PM

They gutted the entire building except for the elevator lobby and a handful of interior spaces. The hotel lobby is not “restored,” it is entirely new.

“Representing Sacramento History In A First Class Way” can mean anything, up to and including demolishing a building and putting up a nice plaque in its place…actually doing a creditable historic preservation project, that’s another.

July 11, 2010 | 8:50 AM

This is about Vision, but it has to be Achievable.
Personally I get confused with all the different numbers flying around in Sac Press, SN&R, SacBee, and BizJrnl
Let’s give Rubicon a couple of months to try to make this work, if they can’t prove that it’s achievable then we have some good alternatives, and all we’ve lost is some time.
Sacrificing a couple of months is worth the shot at a Grander Vision, in my opinion.

July 11, 2010 | 10:05 AM

Do you think someone at city hall will find an extra $80 million lying around in a box in the basement somewhere? We’re laying off staff and browning out fire stations, how can we afford $80 million in city funds?

July 11, 2010 | 10:30 AM

No! Lets’s not give Rubicon Partners a few months. We have been waiting over six years and while Rubicon Partners tries to scramble for cash that isn’t there, the two projects selected by the Selection Committee would have been already completed or darn close. In the time it will take them and the money they’ll suck from the rest of the city, the other two projects would be completed. Rubicon is trying to bring a typical (not visionary) and formulaic suburban development downtown and instead of clearing trees and fields they’re clearing our urban hertiage and the only asset that distiguishes us from the suburbs. Their concept drawing looks very much like the totally unimaginitive city of Irvine (sorry Irvine but it’s true you are not interesting at all). Just because it’s big and new does not mean it is visionary. I am so sick of hearing ‘it’s bold’. What is really bold is actually getting commercial tenants and residents back to the area, both of which will happen if the Council does the right thing and listens to their Selection Committee. Besides Rubicon lifted the Boqueria idea almost in its entiretly from the Railyards cause it polled well. The farmers market comes in phase 4 over five years out which translates to real people speak – it never gets built. If phase 1 is even started it will take up so much money it is likely phases 2-4 will never get built because the city will have nothing left to give in subsidy for the other phases. So keep dreaming everyone because if the Council chooses this (Rubicon et. al) that’s all you’ll have is your dreams cause there won’t be anything happening on K Street.

July 11, 2010 | 1:40 PM

I was at the Boqueria Open Forum a few weeks ago. This market is clearly backed by the Agriculture and Tourism community – which generate Hundreds of Billions of Dollars in revenue a year(Food+Ag alone is $300+ Billion). Sounds like they will be called on to bridge the funding gap, and they are definitely capable of bridging it!
In my opinion it’s worth choosing the bigger vision, give Rubicon 3-6 months and see if they can pull it off.
K Street needs some Vision!

July 12, 2010 | 10:06 AM

Do you have any assurances of this, such as letters of commitment or signed agreements? Are they capable AND willing to fork over $80 million for a minor tourist attraction, when currently existing farmer’s markets play the same role all over the state? And why is Sacramento promoting itself as a farm town? We are a city, and should be promoting ourselves as such. The D&S and Taylor proposal is based on our city attributes–culture, entertainment, dining, and downtown living. The Bogus Boqueria is a cheap gimmick held up to disguise a hundred million dollar raid on the city’s empty coffers.

K Street needs a sure thing, not a crap shoot. We don’t need any more delays. And we sure as hell don’t need any more suburban mindset in our urban core.

July 11, 2010 | 3:19 PM

Mr. Burg’s historic preservation credentials are unmatched. It seems he is constantly championing the cause of promoting Sacramento history and preventing it from slipping away as time and development take their toll. The passion expressed here by all is a testament to the vision everyone has for Sacramento’s future. I have had the opportunity to peek behind the curtain at Rubicon Partners and I can assure you that preserving Sacramento history is a top priority in their consideration of project development. I would urge all the critics to seek out Rubicon and offer your suggestions for molding the project to best preserve the historical integrity some fear we may be losing. Mr. Paino has an ear for everyone and a personal vision for maintaining an historic Sacramento.

Sacramento needs additional destinations to help draw visitors to showcase the history we value. The Boqueria California will be a destination for international visitors and a boon for the Convention and Visitors Bureau to bring more food and agriculturally related conventions to the Golden State capital. I urge you to take another look at what this project brings to Sacramento, and get on board. Give Rubicon your support and your input, you will find a receptive audience open to change.

July 11, 2010 | 7:12 PM

Grieg, I urge you to take another look at the other portions of this project besides the Giant Distracting Boqueria, like the high-rise luxury condo, or the hotel, or the office tower, or the other parts of the project that nobody seems to want to talk about besides the Big Colorful Shiny Distraction.

One other thing about the Big Amazing Wonderful Tourist Attraction is that it is the last of four construction stages. Generally, in such a project, if the first part doesn’t pan out properly, the later phases never gets built. So if for some reason the first phase doesn’t perform up to par, the Boqueria will never be built. And if for some reason some of the economic support doesn’t come through, then the “value engineering” phase starts–and parts of the project like the Boqueria, the Hall of Fame, and other promised civic amenities start getting redlined. “Oh, sorry, we promised your group X amenity? Unfortunately it doesn’t pencil and we have to make the bottom line–if only the city had provided more support!”

If you have in fact had a chance to peek behind the curtain, let’s tear that curtain aside. Quit the empty promises and start talking facts. Without the facts, all of this is just rhetoric–and the facts of the matter, in terms of the actual dollars and cents and the actual project other than the giant yuppie-trap, don’t paint a pretty picture.

July 11, 2010 | 3:30 PM

JSS – the lobbies are lovely but that is about 10% of the building. I was in it many times before Rubicon got their hands on it and many times since. 90% of the interior was gutted and dumpstered and the exterior alterations did not meet Secretary of the Interior Standards for rehabilitation and the Citizen ‘rehab’ missed out on federal tax credits becuase of the extent of the alterations. They did a nice job in ensuring the building is still around and making it a viable use -that is true. But let us not confuse the issue. The comparisons Mr. Paino makes are apples to lemons. The Rubicon K Street plan will not keep anything except the front few feet – this is NOT preservation or adaptive re-use. It is facadism- the most disingenuous form of rehab and largest possible insult to environmental sustainability and an existing building. The citizen barely squeeks by as adaptive re-use -what is left is only a shell. The Bel-Vue on the other hand was an occupied market rate apartment building until the city took ownership in 2008 and evicted everyone. A few structural engineers (including one at the communty meeting sponsored by the city in April) said rehabbing the Bel-Vue as an apartment building would not take a huge amount of money – likely a main reason Taylor wanted to rehab it as an apartment building. Rubicon will gut this one. The audacity of them to compare the Citizen to what they plan for the Bel-Vue and the Pacific States Bank Bldg (aka Mens Warehouse) is an outright fabrication on their part. These buildings are just in their way.

July 11, 2010 | 3:55 PM

Please read the staff report – thankfully it is honest. There is no possible way to fund the 99 Million dollars in subsidy (ie: taxpayer dollars) that Rubicon Partners is asking for. The two plans selected by the Selection Committee and supported by the Downtown Sacramento Partnership and preservation advocates alike (dismissed outright by the Council Ad-hoc Committee) are doable, spread out the risk therefore lessening the risk of failure, and ask for only a few million dollars in subsidy. The plan the Selection Committee recommended is doable within 18-24 months (not five years or more) and can be financed with current resources. This plan from Rubicon cannot. The Boqueria idea was lifted almost verbatim from the Railyards. So it’s not even their vision. It is a great idea that can be incorporated into the Taylor/ D & S Plan. The very nature of the Promenade (D & S Development) and the rehab of Landmarks and housing and retail mix proposed by David Taylor – adding local destination retail, two live music venues and workforce housing so people who work downtown might actually be able to live there too – is a grand and bold vision for K street – reminding us of our urban hertiage not trying to destroy it. The Rubicon plan takes too long and costs too much – not just dollars. It chokes off funds from other worthy projects in other parts of the city. The Ad-hoc Committee -our electeds – ignored the professionals on the Selection Committee and the professionals in our city Economic Development Department and are setting us all up for another expensive failure on K Street. This attitude that our urban history is not worth preserving, and that our home-grown businesses aren’t good enough for the rest of the region is absurd. We seriously need to get over our inferiority complex. Thanks Council Ad-hoc committee for setting us up once again for a colossal failure on K Street.

url (link) to the staff report on the council agenda webpage:

July 8, 2010 | 8:21 PM

You offer lots of opinion here and vary little substance. It sounds to me Lisa that its people like you who prefer to settle with average instead of extraordinary which is what the Rubicon Partners proposal provides. Hopefully the council will also vote with the Ad Hoc recommendation, K Street will be better because of it.

July 8, 2010 | 8:48 PM

The costs are certainly extraordinary! $125 million in city dollars!

July 11, 2010 | 3:56 PM

Read the staff report. I want a project that gets built. How shall we raise the non-existent 125 M dollars – is Rubicon hiding a money tree somewhere? Maybe a bake sale. How will this get built? These are the ugly facts. The most extraordinary project doesn’t matter if it never gets built. The other project plans are far from ordinary and they too meet to goals for K Street. Sacramento’s experiments with ‘bold’ and visionary has left us holes in the ground like like the never built Saca Tower at 3rd & Capitol (still a hole in the ground). And that was during the boom that we failed and now in this environment we are sure to fail – as noted by several economic forecasts that agree California’s recovery will be slow. The successful blocks downtown are a bold blend of old and new. It takes a lot more creativity and vision to work in an urban environment / the already built environment. Rubicon is all style and no substance. When one examines the facts and hard truth the pretty pictures aren’t so pretty.

July 11, 2010 | 6:58 PM

Talk is cheap. Actions speak. It is premature to believe anything you hear – from any developer frankly not just Rubicon Partners. What is their plan for the Landmark Bel Vue – save wall or two! What is their plan for the Pacific States Bank – gut it and put in the knitting factory – a music venue whose time had come and gone 20 years ago. The rest of the buildings will be destroyed if they get their way, The only hope for the buildings on K is a scaled back project because the city is out of cash. K Street does not need tourist attractions, in need residents and a neighborhood and reconnection to the rest of the city. The Rubicon plan is modeled after the same garbage ideas that gave us downtown plaza – bring the burbs downtown- it didn’t work then and it won’t work now.

July 11, 2010 | 11:14 PM

Staff report states in several areas the Rubicon parking bond subsidy requests are not possible. Throw in Rubicon’s ridiculous request for millions in permit fee waivers and the lack of full preservation. Rubicon proposal can’t be built. Taylor and D&S/CFY proposals are exciting and can be completed in 2 years. Every group backs Taylor and D&S/CFY except for this mysterious ad hoc committee with who knows what political motives behind them. This discussion is over.

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