Bob Shallit

Developer plans multiblock housing complex in Sacramento’s midtown

The L Street Lofts is the best-known project built by Sotiris Kolokotronis. The developer is looking to build new housing elsewhere in midtown Sacramento.
The L Street Lofts is the best-known project built by Sotiris Kolokotronis. The developer is looking to build new housing elsewhere in midtown Sacramento. Sacramento Bee file

Developer Sotiris Kolokotronis, who built some of the city’s most prominent residential projects a decade ago, is preparing to make another big splash in midtown Sacramento.

Kolokotronis has been accumulating parcels between 19th and 20th streets with the idea of building multifamily housing and retail in an area just northeast of the huge Ice Blocks project planned along the R Street corridor.

The first public hints of Kolokotronis’ plans emerged last week when the developer filed an application with the city for a four-story, 72-unit apartment building on a vacant, 28,000-square-foot parcel at the northeast corner of 19th and Q streets.

We’ve since learned that he is in contract to buy additional land along 20th Street between R and P streets. And there are rumors that Kolokotronis has more acquisition deals in the works, with a goal of building as many as 500 for-sale and rental units as well as retail spaces in the neighborhood.

Ken Turton, a commercial broker who listed the 20th Street properties, said the developer’s plans are a “perfect fit for that area” and added that Kolokotronis has a “great track record.”

Kolokotronis built two major housing projects on the 1800 block of L Street in the 2000s that came to symbolize the emergence of midtown as one of Sacramento’s hippest living and meeting spots. He lost one of those buildings – a for-sale, 92-unit property called the L Street Lofts – to foreclosure.

“If he hadn’t had bad luck (on the lofts), there would be no losers on his résumé,” Turton said.

Kolokotronis did not return calls this week. But others provided details on how he has accumulated at least some of his new properties.

The site at 19th and Q is being purchased from a partnership headed by Folsom real estate developer Sammy Cemo that acquired the vacant parcel in 2006 with the goal of building apartments there.

“I was going to do about exactly what (Kolokotronis) is going to do,” Cemo said. But he and his partners, who paid cash for the land, opted instead to sell and recoup their investment.

The property along 20th Street is being acquired from Hayes Family Enterprises, which owns Hayes Brothers Auto Glass and Chase Tire & Brake.

Company president Brett Hayes said family members bought the two parcels – between 20th and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, stretching from R to P streets – in the mid-1990s. Their goal was to build a three-story auto body repair business there, but they opted instead to open smaller shops in different parts of town.

The company’s four shops, including one on 20th between R and S streets, were sold in September 2013 to Cooks Collision.

Hayes said Kolokotonis went into contract to buy his land – totaling about 11/4 acres – last year but dropped out of escrow. The two parties went into contract again a few months ago, he said, and plan to close the deal early next year.

Kolokotronis already has put up a considerable amount of nonrefundable money this time and adds to that total with monthly payments.

“He wades a little bit deeper into the pool every month,” Hayes said.

Hayes said he hasn’t been given any details of Kolokotronis’ plans. “I’ve only been told he would build housing there,” he said.

Seeking classroom space

The Sacramento campus for the University of Southern California could soon be moving.

We’re hearing that officials at USC’s Los Angeles headquarters are planning to sell the building they’ve long owned at 1800 I St.

Janet Denhardt, director of the local program, said USC officials currently are determining whether a sale of the building “is a good business decision or not.”

Others say that decision has been made and efforts are being started to find space to rent.

In either case, Denhardt said the school will continue to maintain a strong presence in the region, offering a well-regarded master’s program in public administration.

“We’ve been here since 1971. We’re not going anywhere,” she said.

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