Business & Real Estate

More than 400 apartments coming to downtown Sacramento near the Capitol. Rents won’t be cheap

Construction begins on major downtown apartment project at the Sacramento Commons site at 7th and N streets
Construction begins on major downtown apartment project at the Sacramento Commons site at 7th and N streets Weidner Apartment Homes.

Sacramento’s push for more rental housing downtown just got a solid boost.

A Washington state developer on Wednesday launched construction of the first of an expected 436 apartments in two mid-rise structures at Sacramento Commons, a residential site tucked a few blocks southwest of the state Capitol.

The project will contain the most units of any apartment complex in Sacramento’s central city, surpassing the 277-unit apartment complex under construction at 21st and Q streets. That project, called The Press, encompasses a square block and is expected to open next year at market-rate rents.

The new Sacramento Commons apartments will sit in the center of what is often called the “mega-block,” a four-square block residential area between 5th and 7th streets, and N and P streets, a few blocks south of Capitol Mall.

The apartments are expected to open in 32 months. The complex will include ground-floor space for potential restaurants, stores and neighborhood services.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Councilman Steve Hansen were at the site Wednesday for a groundbreaking and lauded the project as one of many they hope to see in the central city as the region struggles with a lack of affordable housing.

“This is exactly the kind of project we need more of,” Steinberg said. The mayor also is pushing for more lower-end, affordable housing.

The project will include studio apartments, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, but prices likely will not be low. Greg Cerbana, an executive with Weidner Apartment Homes, a national development and property management company, said the project’s rents will be at the higher end of the market.

Sacramento rents have increased notably in recent years. Some one bedroom units in the nearby Ice Blocks project at 17th and R streets are hitting $2,000 a month.

Cerbana said this is his company’s first construction foray into California, where construction costs are higher. The company will develop its portion of the block in phases, testing the rental market as it goes, he said.

The two new towers are replacing a row of 84 two-story garden apartments that were built in the 1960s and torn down recently. Councilman Hansen said the project represents appropriate densification of housing in the central city. The project had been protested by some nearby residents, saying it would take away from the park-like feel of the site.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee

Tony Bizjak has been reporting for The Bee for 30 years. He covers transportation, housing and development and previously was the paper’s City Hall beat reporter.