Bob Shallit

Midtown condos, restaurant space to rise after 8-year wait

A condo project at 1813 Capitol Ave. next to The Press bistro is breaking ground after eight years of planning by developers Julie Young and Linda Clifford. It is shown in an artist’s rendering.
A condo project at 1813 Capitol Ave. next to The Press bistro is breaking ground after eight years of planning by developers Julie Young and Linda Clifford. It is shown in an artist’s rendering.

It all started with a conversation between pals Julie Young and Linda Clifford as they were driving to brunch in Napa nine years ago.

Young was telling Clifford she wanted to build a modest, mixed-use project in midtown Sacramento – a home for her family above a retail operation. Clifford was intrigued. As Young recalled it, Clifford said, “Build another floor and I’m in. Let’s do it together.”

Now, eight years after buying their parcel at 1813 Capitol Ave., the partners have broken ground on what will be a five-unit condo complex with four residences above a first-floor restaurant space.

What took so long? Young, who has a wry sense of humor, responded: “I don’t know if you heard, but we had this thing called a recession.”

Funding from First Northern Bank came through at the end of last year. Construction plans were updated. Now, work is underway on the building’s foundation and an elevator pit.

These will be upscale living quarters, two- and three-bedroom units with top-of-the-line fixtures, in the heart of the city’s hot Handle District, right next to The Press bistro and a few doors down from Zocalo.

Clifford and Young – both execs in the construction industry – are each taking one of the residential units. In addition, an investor is in escrow to buy the ground-floor space and is in talks with two “established restaurateurs” about leasing it, Young says.

The commercial space is set to be completed by August and the residential units – which range from 1,400 to 1,900 square feet and will likely be priced between $800,000 and $1 million – should be ready for occupancy next February.

For Young, the progress is vindication.

“There was plenty of eye-rolling,” she said of reaction from friends and associates to the nearly decadelong effort. “Anytime you talk about something for eight years, you can get to the point where you are the only one believing in it.”

The parking shuffle

Also just getting under construction in midtown: a four-level garage at 28th and S streets. But this is more than just a garage. It’s the first big step toward construction of the new site for the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op.

When the garage is completed in August, it will replace the parking lot at the corner of 28th and R streets that’s now being used by employees of the county Department of Human Assistance. That will allow work to begin on the new 26,000-square-foot co-op building.

The store’s projected opening date, twice delayed, is now next April, said co-op general manager Paul Cultrera. He’s looking forward to having a larger store, with more space for produce, meats, deli services and, especially, parking.

Is Cultrera worried about competition from Whole Foods, which has announced plans for a 40,000-square-foot store on the north side of L Street between 20th and 21st streets?

“Worried? No,” he said. “Concerned? Yes, you have to be.”

But, he added, Whole Foods’ decision to go into midtown is “a sign they must think there’s a hell of a market here.”

One big enough for both natural foods companies to thrive.

Lifetime partners

Lucy Eidam Crocker got some notable recognition last week: a lifetime achievement award from the Sacramento Public Relations Association, plus a sweet intro at the awards banquet from her husband and business partner Scot Crocker.

Scot talked about their long friendship that eventually became a “merger” – of their PR businesses and otherwise.

Lucy, co-owner of Crocker & Crocker, was gushing later about Scot’s speech. “He said he loved me. I’ve never had anybody introduce me ... that way,” she said.

Now that she’s received this “lifetime” award at the youthful age of 50, she’s got one question: “Can I retire now?”

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

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