K Street’s 700 block to get entertainment, housing
A redevelopment project being considered by the city could help cement K Street Mall's future as an entertainment district.
The proposal that went before the city's Preservation Commission Wednesday night would build a live music club with a roof terrace in the historic Banking Hall building at 700 K St., anchoring a key block across from Westfield Downtown Plaza and St. Rose of Lima Park.
The plan by D & S Development, Inc., and CFY Development Inc. – led by David Miry and his son, Bay Miry, and Cyrus Youssefi and his son, Ali Youssefi – also proposes four restaurants with bars for the south side of the block, along with 153 new apartments and a nearly 29,000-square-foot, two-level parking garage. The project would add new housing stock and full-time residents to the troubled mall, which is nearly deserted nights and weekends.
"Our intention with this development is to celebrate the buildings that have for years held an exciting place in the history of downtown Sacramento," Ali Youssefi told the commission.
Youssefi's and Bay Miry's fathers taught them to respect old structures and their character. The two young developers and the project's architect, Bob Kuchman, have spent nearly every day of the last six months discovering the charms of the block's historic buildings, Miry said.
"We have so many historic buildings around Sacramento that really need love," he said.
Most of the housing would be contained in a five-story apartment building with a 91-space parking garage on the bottom. The building would occupy space created by demolishing the back half of some existing 160-foot-deep retail spaces.
That would mean the 19th-Century alley façades would be eliminated, although developers discussed reusing the bricks to possibly reconstruct some of the façade on the ground-level or in a rooftop garden courtyard. Other apartments would be built over ground-floor restaurant and retail space.
The plan calls for 63,780 square feet of retail including the restaurants and bars – nearly double what was originally proposed. Developers would create extra space by incorporating basements for retail use. There would be sidewalk kiosks, operated by vendors, on the block and housing would include rooftop gardens.
City staff said they support the way the project would restore historic brick and wood storefronts and incorporate most of the existing buildings facing K Street. They also like the way the area would be invigorated by the music club in an adaptive reuse of the corner landmark building that once held a Men's Wearhouse.
"They've shown sensitivity to the historic nature and pedestrian scale of the area," said Beth Tincher, a senior project manager with the city's Economic Development Department. "They have created a great vision for the 700 block."
The club would be big enough to hold 500 people. Its roof terrace would be 3,225 square feet. Developers plan to use some space from the neighboring Joe Sun building at 704 K St. for the club.
The developers would preserve the landmark Morelia building at 716 K St. for use as a bakery or coffee shop.
The historic Galleria building at 712 K St. could contain a salon and the former Tower Records at 726 K St. – also a potential historic landmark – would get a restored mural and be used for retail. The old Texas Mexican restaurant at 1114 Eighth St. will be demolished for the project, Bay Miry said.
On Wednesday night, city staff asked Preservation Commission members to review the proposal and discuss concerns that would need to be considered during project review in the next few months.
Several commissioners expressed concern over demolition of alley façades, the loss of hollow sidewalks and construction of a flat, industrial-looking alley wall on the apartment building.
Commissioner Fred Turner encouraged developers to do a survey of the historic resources and see what's regulated, including interiors, and to use information from a survey the city funded last year.
Developers will work with city staff to decide how much of the alley façade will be taken apart, how much will be reconstructed and where, Kuchman said.
The city requested proposals to develop the blighted 700 and 800 blocks of K Street in early 2010. 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 blocks.
D&S Development, Inc., and CFY Development Inc. originally turned in a proposal to build a four-story building with 136 units of "affordable" alley-front housing over podium parking. They also wanted to create 37,480 square feet of retail space by reducing the size of 160-foot-deep retail spaces and devoting the 66-feet-deep leftover space to housing.
The current project application was submitted to the city Dec. 10. Developers are working through the entitlement process and creating a financing plan. The city and its Redevelopment Agency must prepare an environmental review of the plan and evaluate the project's feasibility. Funds must still be secured for the project, Tincher said.
The D&S team was requesting $16 million in RDA funds and would invest $1.5 million in cash equity and $18 million in conventional debt to develop the 700 block, Bay Miry said shortly before the team was chosen last July. At that time, he estimated their project could start six months after being chosen, once entitlements and permits were obtained.
City staff expect to bring the project before the commission and the City Council for final action in May and June.
Developers hope to start construction near the end of the year, Cyrus Youssefi said.
Suzanne Hurt is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Twitter @SuzanneHurt.