Business & Real Estate

New housing taking shape at downtown Sacramento landmark

New owners are planning housing and other upgrades at the 105-year-old Ransohoff Building at 1029 K St. New tenants are being sought for the Pyramid Alehouse space on the ground floor.
New owners are planning housing and other upgrades at the 105-year-old Ransohoff Building at 1029 K St. New tenants are being sought for the Pyramid Alehouse space on the ground floor. Sacramento Bee file

A year after buying downtown Sacramento’s historic Ransohoff Building, a local investor group has completed one big upgrade and is well on its way to converting some of the upper floors back to their original use as residential units.

Sutter Capital Group, which bought the four-story building at 1029 K St. last November, already has completed a renovation of the 200-person-capacity conference center on the north end of the building’s second floor.

“We’ve made it more contemporary, more elegant,” said Burke Fathy, one of four partners in the ownership group. Among the improvements: new audio-visual equipment for presentations and an expanded kitchen at what’s being promoted as the Capitol Event Center.

At the same time, the partners have begun building 21 apartment units on the second, third and fourth floors in space that had previously been converted from residential to offices.

The apartments will range from about 500 to 900 square feet, Fathy said, and should be available for occupancy by late April or early May.

“We’re trying to preserve the architectural detail” of the space, including original moldings and other design elements, while turning the units into modern “A-plus-quality product,” he said.

The apartments, all with just one bedroom, will be targeted at people who work at or near the Capitol, he said.

Michael Ault, executive director of the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, said the new apartments are an important addition to efforts to bring more residents to the central city.

“We’ve been talking for years about the opportunities (for housing) in unused space in the upper floors of buildings and J and K streets,” he said, adding that other big cities – notably Seattle, Portland, Ore., and Chicago – have done that effectively.

“The easiest thing (for Sutter Capital) would have been to fix them up and keep them as offices,” he said of the Ransohoff space. But, he added, the investors were aware of growing numbers of people wanting to live in the downtown core and “took advantage of it.”

As for the ground floor of the 105-year-old Ransohoff Building, Fathy said the partners are in talks with several users interested in taking over the 8,200-square-foot space vacated by Pyramid Alehouse in March 2013.

Some of the potential users have expressed interest in keeping the beer-making equipment that Pyramid left behind.

“We’re trying to stay patient and find just the right operator,” Fathy said.

Blockbuster deal

A nearly full block of industrial land near McKinley Park is drawing interest from dozens of possible developers from all across the country.

“It’s strong and diverse,” broker Ken Noack Jr. said of responses to his company’s listing for the former Mary Ann’s Baking Co. facilities on a block bordered by Alhambra Boulevard and 30th, C and D streets.

The property, including a 54,000-square-foot building, was vacated in 2004, when Mary Ann’s relocated its operations to the Power Inn area. There is no set asking price.

Noack, a broker with Newmark Cornish & Carey, said he and listing partner David Brandenburger have been impressed both by the number of inquiries they’ve received and by some of the “intriguing” possible uses mentioned by would-be buyers. They include suggestions for a mixed-use development with retail, office and “a couple hundred units” of housing.

“The beauty of it is you have a full city block, and that allows you to do something that’s substantive and a statement – rather than just a postage stamp,” he said.

Among those expressing interest are major developers and investors who have never before taken on projects in this region, the broker said.

“It’s fun to see that,” Noack said. “From my perspective, it means Sacramento has finally arrived.”