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The American Institute of Architects’ Central Valley chapter this week led a panel discussion and tour in the River District, described by some as one of the region’s hottest areas.

The roughly 773-acre River District, previously known as the Richards Boulevard area, sits north of downtown in an area bounded by the Sacramento and American rivers, the historic railyards and parcels along North 16th Street. More than 200 property owners hold title to about 400 parcels located there.

The discussion featured Township 9 developer Steve Goodwin, Sacramento Economic Development Department Senior Project Manager Rachel Hazelwood, Community Development Department Senior Urban Designer Greg Taylor and California Lottery Deputy Director Terry Murphy.

The panelists discussed the history, development and future of an area recently called one of the region’s hottest districts.

"This year, you’re going to see so much development going on in this area," said Goodwin, president of the River District board of directors. "It’s taken a lot of time. It’s taken a lot of effort. I think the city’s going to be proud of what we’ve accomplished in terms of planning for the future of this area."

The size of the River District is about the same size as a chunk of north Portland from the Pearl District to University Park. The 5.77-miles length of waterfront in the district surpasses one of San Francisco’s most popular in the area of the Embarcadero, Taylor said.

The River District currently has about 386 residential units. Within 25 years, that could grow to 8,144 units, Hazelwood said.

"It’s going to be a future hot spot," said event organizer Carla Collins of MatriScope Engineering. Collins chairs the Young Leaders Group Committee for the Urban Land Institute Sacramento.

Those attending the event then broke into groups to tour three new landmark projects under construction: the new Lottery campus and the Greyhound bus terminal, and to learn about landscape architecture plans at the site of the future Township 9. Planners, designers and builders met groups at each site to lead tours.

Township 9

Jeff Townsend with Jacobs Engineering talks about parks at future Township 9 site.

The 65-acre Township 9 site will feature a six-acre riverfront park and a linear parkway on North Seventh Street.

The park will include an outdoor amphitheater and plants that recreate natural habitat for wildlife. The linear parkway will contain a fountain and watercourse that ends in a retainment pond. A road running along the existing levee and the park will make the American River in that area more accessible to the public. Construction on the project’s first building is expected to start this year, said Jeff Townsend with Jacobs Engineering.

California State Lottery Building and Campus

New California Lottery building.

Newly transplanted palm trees and other plants currently dominate a 10,500-square-foot outdoor plaza at the new California State Lottery Building on North 10th St. But the plaza will also include water features and retail.

The greenery contrasts with the modern glass curtain exterior covering the main building. The campus includes a prominent, glass-enclosed drawing room and a pavilion for Lottery Commission hearings and public meetings.

The new headquarters will include environmentally friendly features such as solar panels and drought-tolerant, low-maintenance vegetation on some roofs. Inside, offices were placed at the core of the building, and worker cubicles were placed near windows to maximize natural light, said Curtis Owyang with LPAS Architecture & Design.

Greyhound Terminal

Tour participants visited the temporary Greyhound terminal under construction.

The temporary Greyhound bus terminal on Richards Boulevard is a pre-engineered metal building being constructed for $5 million with the idea that it can be reused for another purpose or dismantled and moved after it’s no longer needed in Sacramento. The building is expected to be used as a terminal for 10 – 15 years.

Inside, the roughly 10,000-square-foot terminal has three sections: a 4,000-square-foot main lobby; an administration area with ticketing and baggage services; and an area with food service and restrooms.

Buses will line up behind the building, which will have a landscaped front entrance for passengers but no public parking lot. Parking may be added later. A soft opening may be held in July, said Craig Stradley of Mogavero Notestine Associates.