Business & Real Estate

The story behind renovation of two downtown Victorian homes converted from offices to apartments

Richard Kelly began remodeling a pair of side-by-side Victorian houses on 10th Street in downtown Sacramento about 18 months ago. In August, the first tenants move in.

And he’s pretty excited about being a part of Sacramento’s booming downtown.

“It’s just a beautiful, beautiful building with high ceilings and incredible detail from the 1800s. It’s just your classic Victorian. I was taken by both the building, instantly, and this incredible tree-lined street and I thought it was just screaming to be redone,” he said.

“Sacramento is booming, the inner city is booming in terms of entertainment and restaurants and all that kind of stuff so it just feels like it’s the right place at the right time.”

The pair of houses at 608 10th Street were converted to office space in the 1970s, Kelly said. Now, they have been renovated and reverted back to living spaces. There are eight new apartments in total.

The units are listed for rent at $1,995 per month by Raymond Management. The two bedroom, one bath apartments have tall ceilings, oversized windows that let in lots of natural light and spacious patios. They are within walking distance to Golden 1 Center and other entertainment and dining spots in downtown Sacramento.

“You feel like you’re in the suburbs, in a way, because it feels so leafy and quiet, but your two blocks from downtown.”

Kelly sees the apartments as an ideal fit for young professionals settling in the city.

“In my mind, when I decided to do this project, it was always going to be (for) young professionals who work in the area and who want to have a life in which they are getting around either on foot or on bicycle and just enjoying the neighborhood, enjoying being in Sacramento.”

In a remodeling process that he admits with a chuckle took a bit longer than expected, the interior was stripped down to the studs before being electrically and mechanically upgraded to function as apartments rather than office space. He would not reveal the total cost of the renovation.

“I love the combination of the Victorian exterior with the now very, very modern interior,” he said. “ I think those things are sort of a magical combination for me.”

Although the project is small in scale compared to other projects sprouting up in the area, Kelly said he still feels like he is doing his part to ease some of downtown’s housing needs.

“We’ve gone from having four offices to eight apartments, and a place for people to live and stay and really create life. For me, life in the city has got to be with people who live in it. You can’t just have people coming to visit from other parts. They got to actually have a stake in the city.”

Scott Raymond, who specializes in property management in the area, said the fact that the house has been converted to housing units from an office use is unique.

“So is the quality and finishes of the interior upgrades,” said Raymond, who owns Raymond Management. “Yet, the developer paid very close attention to detail on maintaining the stunning Victorian architectural legacy.”

He said the property was never in much demand from office users.

On a recent morning, Kelly, who manages his company from the Bay Area, and his construction foreman Catalino Alvarez were scrutinizing the exterior details at the 10th Street homes. It’s not something new to these guys. They’ve done dozens of similar projects around the region, including rehabs in Stockton, Martinez and Amador County.

“I just feel like I’m so blessed to have worked on something I consider to be a gem of the city. It really had been a gem that had been left to gather lots of dust and stuff and I had the opportunity to sort of rub in clean and not only bring it back to what it was I think in many ways update it and make it look even more beautiful than it ever did. That’s my hope anyway.”