Construction of the $50 million Capitol Yards housing development in West Sacramento is slated to begin in the fall, one of a series of projects planned and underway to transform the city's waterfront into an urban center.
At a Thursday ceremony on the development's Fifth Street site in the Raley's Landing area near the Tower Bridge, West Sacramento leaders and developers touted it as a key step in that transformation.
"This is the most significant infill project in the region for a long, long time," said David Mogavero, principal of Mogavero Notestine Associates, the Sacramento architects who designed the project.
"We want to bring young, sophisticated, hip people to West Sacramento and grow that culture in West Sacramento."
The 272 apartment units in the shadow of Raley Field are expected to be completed in the fall of 2014, with the first units available for lease by early 2014.
The 14-month project, estimated to cost roughly $50 million, is expected to create as many as 200 construction jobs, Mogavero said.
That's a boost for a city with Yolo County's highest jobless rate - above 13 percent, according to the state's Employment Development Department - and to a regional building industry still in recovery.
The project is "important to contribute to the rebound of the economy, and it's essential to attract new companies and new jobs" to the city, West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon said.
With its solar-ready apartments, courtyards and other public spaces, dog washes and, even a bicycle repair shop, the project is "designed for the younger crowd that wants to live downtown," said Nathaniel Sebok, an associate at Mogavero Notestine.
"We see hundreds of people moving in," Cabaldon said. "It's part of a vision of a diversity of places to live. Now, we have places like this for the first time - urban-style living so that we're a complete community."
Developing a vibrant, contemporary hub on the banks of the Sacramento River has been a goal of West Sacramento's for years.
The city has worked hard to scrub away the seedier elements of its past and with the 180-acre Bridge District - the planned housing and entertainment district - continuing to take shape along its once-industrial waterfront, West Sacramento sees the river as a road to its future.
Talk of a planned $131 million Marriott Hotel and conference center south of the Tower Bridge continues.
Marriott representatives were in the city "as late as a week and a half ago," Cabaldon said.
Streetcars and restaurants, bike paths and greenbelts and urban-skewing spaces to draw younger, upwardly mobile residents to the city are also part of that future.
"It seems so obvious today that's what we needed to happen," Cabaldon said. "We have these great rivers, we've been given this resource. We have this urban connection to the water,which is why these cities are here in the first place."
Call The Bee's Darrell Smith, (916) 321-1040.