Lezlie Sterling / Bee file, 2011

Cars returned to K Street in 2011 after 42 years. The street has been home to merchants throughout Sacramento history, and was the mercantile heart of the Sacramento Valley, as well. It was home to theaters, jazz clubs and the vaudeville circuit, and generations of children thrilling to stores' Christmas displays.

Murals sought to spiff up vacant stretch of K Street

Published: Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 4B
Last Modified: Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013 - 1:18 pm

Looking to tap into the city's burgeoning mural scene, downtown officials are seeking entries from artists willing to provide a cosmetic upgrade to a blighted corner of K Street.

The Downtown Mural Project, launched by the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, will result in up to 14 murals on walls surrounding a vacant stretch of the 800 block of K Street, where buildings collapsed or were demolished. For the last few years, a fence at that corner has been draped with an advertisement for downtown activities.

"The murals on the 800 block are the start of a conversation with the community and a way to make small – albeit cosmetic – short-term changes in the physical environment," said Michael Ault, the executive director of the Downtown Sacramento Partnership.

That corner is at the center of the city's redevelopment effort on K Street's most downtrodden stretch. The city spent years – and millions of dollars – acquiring properties on the 700 and 800 blocks of K Street before granting them to two development teams in 2010.

But work has been slow on the blocks as financing became difficult to find during the economic downturn and redevelopment dollars disappeared.

Bay Miry, whose D&S Development is partnering with CFY Development on a plan to bring 137 apartments, restaurants and retail to the 700 block, said that construction could begin this summer.

Teams are in the process of securing financing for housing from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Once that is in hand, Miry said, he is confident financing for the retail elements would become available as well.

Among the entertainment spaces planned for the 700 block are a music venue and bar operated by the owners of the Shady Lady Saloon on R Street.

Restaurants are also in the plans for the block, and Miry said he has interest in operating venues from local chefs Adam Pechal (of Tuli Bistro and Restaurant Thir13en and currently competing on ABC's "The Taste") and Billy Ngo (executive chef and owner of Kru sushi).

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