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Community Profile: Sacramentans like the downtown lifestyle

By Tinka Davi

The historic D.O. Mills Bank Building at Seventh and J streets is being rebranded as “The Bank” and will reopen to the public as a food, beer showplace.
The historic D.O. Mills Bank Building at Seventh and J streets is being rebranded as “The Bank” and will reopen to the public as a food, beer showplace.

The desire to live downtown is happening across the county and Sacramento is no exception, said Liz Edmonds of Lyon Real Estate.

“The move to downtown is happening everywhere,” she said. “Downtowns are coming alive across the country.”

Michael Ault, executive director of Downtown Sacramento Partnership, said it’s not just people who want to move downtown. He’s getting calls from retailers and brokers about downtown Sacramento and what’s there.

“We find ourselves being tour guides to businesses. People have us in their radar,” he said.

Sacramento is in a “little bit of a transition time and we are seeing more retail and businesses in the downtown core.”

There’s a rise in the high-tech and start-ups interested in locating downtown. They want to be close to the arena and activities, he said.

“We’re starting to see a lot of residential projects come to fruition.”

They include CADA at 14th and N streets with almost 80 units; D&S at 15th and Q streets with 73 units and the project at 19th and J which just broke ground. It will have micro-units sold at market rate to attract the younger downtown workforce plus 7,000 square feet of retail.

“A lot of people want to live in the urban core and there’s an enthusiastic resurgence of activities downtown.”

People can walk or ride bicycles to the restaurants, bars, art galleries and farmers markets, all part of the urban lifestyle.

Edmonds said that there’s is a lot of energy downtown with exhibits at the Crocker Art Museum plus art programs for all ages, the California Museum and the Railroad Museum. The arena concerts, music in the parks, art murals on the exteriors of buildings are drawing a lot of people. She, too, said people like the sheer joy of walking and biking to the shops, restaurants and work.

Ault said he is getting calls from people who are tired of the 80 corridor and want to ditch their commutes.

Edmonds agrees. “Frankly, people are tired of commuting.”

Ault added, “People want to move downtown even though it’s more expensive. They want the amenities like schools, grocery stores - the things that round out living there,” he said.

“The proposed Market 5-ONE-5 on R Street corridor will be a great addition to downtown.”

DoCo (Downtown Commons) will include retail, state-of-the-art movie theater, Haagan-Dazs, Urban Outfitters, Echo & Rig Butcher and Steakhouse at the Sawyer and office space. According to Downtown Partnership, DOCO is the region’s premier entertainment and shopping destination.

The Kimpton Hotel with 44 residences atop the tower is a month-and-a-half away from opening, Ault said.

“Kaiser is moving ahead with its project, a medical center on J Street between Fifth and Sixth streets with 500 medical professionals.”

A high-end Starbucks and Solomon’s Deli will be on Sixth and K streets, near the Golden 1 Center.

Ten Ten retro bar will locate behind the Citizen Hotel.

“That’s going to be a cool one,” Ault said.

Edmonds and her husband moved downtown almost 40 years ago and they’re still in the same house.

“We like living in the city and like the mix of people. The architecture was calling to us and we like the ability to bike around town.”

Edmonds likes the charm of the Victorians with older features like pull-chain toilets, inlaid flooring, woodwork, pocket doors, laundry chutes, beautiful window sills, stained glass and balconies.

Those types of amenities will be seen on the Preservation Sacramento Home Tour, from 10 a.m.-4 pm. on Sept. 17.

“It will be in Alkali Flat and will feature some cherished heritage homes as well as some newly constructed homes at The Creamery,” she said.

BlackPine Communities is offering The Creamery, 117 single-family homes on the site of the former Crystal Cream & Butter Co.

According to information provided by Downtown Partnership, other development projects in the works include:

The 700 block of K Street from D&S Development with 137 mixed-income apartments ranging from affordable studios to penthouses plus 72,000 square feet of retail;

Q19 at MidtownQuarter, a mixed-use development by the SKK/Grupe team, with 68 apartment units and 9,000 square feet of retail. Just a block away is 20PQR, another development from the SKK./Grupe team. This community of detached tri-level townhomes is holding its grand opening today.

15Q Mixed-Use, part of the R Street development with 73 market-rate rental apartments and over 8,500 square feet of retail.

The Railyards will double the size of the urban core and is the largest infill-development site west of the Mississippi. It will house a Kaiser Permanente Hospital and potentially an MLS soccer stadium;

EVIVA Midtown has 118 condominium-style rental units and retail.

Mill at Broadway will have 1,000 new homes, public market, urban farm, parks, public art, bike and running paths;

The Ice Blocks is nearly complete. Block 1 will include the Ice Shops and office space; Block 2 will have street retail below loft units; Block 3 will create Midtown’s largest cluster of ground-floor retail, office and loft living with 142 apartments.

Michael Onstead of Coldwell Banker Development Services said the market lacks inventory of newly constructed ownership condominiums.

The options are the L Street Lofts, Tapestri Square, The Penthouses at Capitol Park or the Sutter Brownstones which are resale properties; however, the only current resale listings are one at the Lofts and one at Tapestri Square.

“There is a significant ‘lifestyle adjustment’ (move-down) market that wants the condo lifestyle in the urban area. They want to walk out to great restaurants, amenities and entertainment which we now have an abundance of but they don't want to rent.”

Edmonds said that since May 1, sales in Midtown and Downtown include 21 condominiums at an average price of $416,000. Sales of single-family homes include 21 sold, 15 pending and 21 active with an average sales price of $558,480.

The highest price home in Midtown was $1,050,000 and another one is pending in the same range. Three have sold in the $800,000+ range.

Residential income from duplexes and four-plexes to larger units shows that 21 have sold ranging in price from $500,000 to $1,695,000 for 8 units.

“There’s a lot going on downtown,” Edmonds said. “It’s just a lovely place to live.”

Tinka Davi is a freelance writer and editor based in Folsom.

DOWNTOWN SACRAMENTO

Size: 1-mile radius: 66 blocks

2016 Population estimates: 1 mile: 21,326; 3 miles: 140,469

Daytime employment: 1 mile: 94,515; 3 miles: 172,364

Government: City Council

County: Sacramento

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