Business & Real Estate

Sierra Oaks residents worry this renovated bank will clash with Tudor-style homes

A rendering of what the new First Citizens Bank is expected to look like - the design is meant to echo the Tudorian architecture of the area.
A rendering of what the new First Citizens Bank is expected to look like - the design is meant to echo the Tudorian architecture of the area. First Citizens Bank

A 51-year-old building in the Sierra Oaks neighborhood is being heavily renovated to make way for a new First Citizens Bank branch.

The building, on 440 Drake Circle, was stripped down to its frame in the past two weeks. Some Sierra Oaks residents are worried about what the new construction means for the historic feel of the neighborhood.

The buildings that line Drake Circle are well known for their Tudor-style architecture — they are low to the ground, with red brick and dark brown siding, and triangular roofs that give them a cottage feel.

The building on 440 Drake Circle was especially unique, with a cupola that looked out onto the main street.

"Anybody from Sacramento or that lives in the Arden area knows these buildings. They're absolutely beautiful," said Judy Goorabian, who has lived in the Sierra Oaks neighborhood for about 40 years.

And, standing at the entrance to parts of the Sierra Oaks neighborhood, the buildings serve as a gateway for many residents into the rest of the Sierra Oaks neighborhood, where many houses resemble the buildings that precede them — old, stately, distinctly Tudor homes.

Drake Circle.JPG
The original building on 440 Drake Circle was well known in the area for its unique architecture and cupola. First Citizens Bank

Now, the building on 440 Drake Circle has been almost completely demolished. Only the frame remains. The construction makes way for renovations that will put the building in line with current city regulations.

"It was a shock to see it destroyed," said Georgia Mikacich, who worked for a decade in the building, which used to be a Coldwell real estate office. "We thought it was one of a kind, and it was sad for us to see it torn down, because I don't think they'll ever build it like that again."

While the original building is largely gone, First Citizens Bank is making a concerted effort to preserve its historic nature in their renovations.

According to the bank's design narrative, their goal is to "strengthen (the building's) role as a gateway to the adjacent neighborhood beyond." To do this, the design adheres to the architectural cues from the buildings surrounding it.

"(The bank) is going to be renovated in a comparable Tudor style," said Barbra Thompson, the director of communications for First Citizens Bank.

Ptolemy Dean conceptually designed the buildings; the London-based architect specializes in historic preservation and was the architect-in-residence at Westminster Abbey. And before beginning the renovation process, First Citizens Bank met with the Sierra Oaks Neighborhood Association in 2017 to hear the community's feedback, and is planning on meeting with the association again this fall to present final construction plans.

In addition to renovations, the construction will also include adding in a new main entryway, security cameras, and LED lighting fixtures around the site to increase security.

"We believe when this office is done it's going to be comparable to the building that was there," Thompson said. "Our focus is always being a good corporate citizen, a good community citizen, and a good neighbor."