Bob Shallit

Soccer ‘subdivision’ takes shape in southeast Sacramento

A 13-acre parcel designated for new housing near Power Inn Road is getting an alternative use: It’s being turned into three new soccer fields that could make Granite Regional Parka “mecca” for statewide and even national youth tournaments.

It’s all the result of an unusual agreement involving the city, the Sacramento United youth soccer club and the Separovich/Domich development company, which owns the parcel just to the north of the regional park it helped establish in 2001.

Call this a perfect example of that overused term: win-win.

Sacramento United, which runs an elite youth soccer program, needed more space beyond the four fields it now uses within the regional park, the site of a former gravel pit. Separovich/Domich needed someone to clean up the unkempt 13 acres where it eventually plans to build 119 homes.

So the company has leased the land to the soccer club, for $1 a year. “This just seemed like a wonderful way to reinvigorate the park” while participating in the region’s soccer mania, says Dain Domich, whose company owns four office buildings west of the 46-acre regional park.

The city also is a winner in the arrangement: Sac United is paying for a new well-water system to irrigate all the fields and some surrounding areas, saving Sacramento 12 million gallons of water a year.

Chris Churchill, president of Sacramento United, says the new fields will enable Sacramento to compete with other cities for big youth tournaments that draw kids and their parents from all over the West and spark lots of economic activity.

“This increases the profile of Granite and really turns it into a soccer mecca for Northern California,” he says.

Grass seed is being sown next week on the new fields, according to Churchill. The fields should be ready for tournament play in June.

Domich says it will be easy enough to relocate the new soccer fields in a few years if his company decides to move ahead on its housing plans.

For now, he says, “This is one of those things you get to do once in a while that’s really cool.”

Real estate beat

Speaking of Separovich/Domich, the local partnership developed its first big state office project – the transit-oriented Farmers Market Plaza on Alhambra Boulevard and on 30th Street – in the late 1980s.

The three buildings, on each side of the light-rail tracks, were sold to investors from Japan in the 1990s. In 2006, the 375,000-square-foot complex was acquired by a Texas partnership, reportedly for about $75 million.

Now we’re hearing that the Texas owners – a group led by Americus Real Estate Investments Inc. – are putting the complex on the market again. They reportedly have selected El Dorado Hills broker Dan Macke to market the buildings, which are occupied by Caltrans.

The price this time? Mostly likely higher than the 2006 price, according to local brokers.

Calls to Macke were not returned.

Lights, camera ... profits?

A Folsom filmmaker is taking a page from the “farm-to-fork” movement to finance his newest venture.

Jim Meyers, who achieved widespread distribution – but no profits – from an earlier feature film called “Her Minor Thing,” thinks he can do better this time by keeping everything local. Raise funds here. Use all local actors. Then sell the low-budget film in DVD format directly to Sacramento-area consumers.

“I don’t know anybody who has ever taken this sort of approach,” says Meyers, who is working on the film project – titled “Not Your Year” – with fellow producer Paul Nicknig.

The film is a “smart romantic comedy,” a genre Meyers says is being overlooked by Hollywood. But he says the key selling point will be its local appeal.

He hopes to generate buzz for “Not Your Year” while filming in local towns and music venues, then make enough money from DVD pre-orders to cover production costs. After that, he plans to use a more conventional approach, taking the movie to film festivals and lining up distribution deals.

Meyers says “Her Minor Thing” was watched by 1 million people and may be the most successful film ever shot in this region. This time, he’d like to achieve a different milestone: profitability.

Call The Bee’s Bob Shallit, (916) 321-1017.

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