Bob Shallit

Key downtown land parcels heading to market

Two of the hottest pieces of downtown Sacramento property are going to market later this month, with developers expected to bid high for city-owned land near the Kings arena site.

One of the properties is the giant “hole in the ground” at Eighth and K streets, which has long been a focus of downtown redevelopment. The other includes the historic, three-story Bel-Vue Apartments building at 809 L St., and the former site of Sam’s Downtown Hof Brau at 815 L St.

An offering listing those sites is expected to be issued by July 27, giving prospective buyers 90 days from that point to come up with bids, said Ken Turton, the head of a commercial real estate company that was selected by city officials last month to market the properties.

Turton said he’s anticipating big-dollar bids for the parcels but said the city is as interested in developers’ plans for the sites as in their offering price.

“The goal is to get a good development project at those locations,” he said, “and price alone does not rule the day.”

He said the parcels are among a dozen or so major downtown properties that are now available for development but said these ones are “the most attractive.”

“They have more than 600 feet of frontage on K, L and Eighth streets and are dead center in the middle of the grid renaissance,” he said.

The sale has one interesting wrinkle. Under the terms of the Kings arena deal, the basketball team’s ownership group was given the right of first refusal on any sale of that land.

Leslie Fritzsche, a city economic development manager, said the wording of that arrangement requires the Kings group to come up with a “like offer,” meaning it would have to match not only the price but also the nature of any proposed development at the site.

The downtown properties are among 81 former redevelopment agency holdings that eventually are going to be offered up for sale. The Sacramento office of DTZ has been selected to start marketing four of the other properties.

Toys for big boys - and girls

A Bay Area Audi dealership is about to close on a 4.6-acre land purchase in Rocklin, with plans to bring yet another upscale car sales operation to “Toy Row” – the stretch of Granite Drive, along I-80, that now has Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Porsche and Tesla sales or service operations along with the San Ramon Boat Center.

Plans for the new Audi operation, at the corner of Granite and Warren drives, were approved this week by the Rocklin Planning Commission, and the sale should close next month, said Ken Noack Jr., a Newmark Cornish & Carey broker who represented the sellers.

After that, the dealership – Euromotors Auto Group of San Francisco – plans to build out the Audi operation “fairly immediately,” Noack said. The sales price on the land acquisition was not disclosed.

Bill Ayres, a CBRE land broker who represented Euromotors, said Audi’s move to the upscale enclave is something of a trend for higher-end dealers.

“They like to be outside (auto) malls where they can drive their own traffic and offer their own experiences,” he said.

Droning on

Sacramento marketing and advertising guy Steve LaRosa saw our item about Thunder Valley Casino’s use of a drone to take video footage of events there – something casino spokesman Doug Elmets suggested was a local first.

Not so, according to LaRosa, who said he used a drone two or three years ago to shoot the golf expo at Haggin Oaks. He borrowed a drone from pal Steve Price, drummer for the Pablo Cruise band, and attached a GoPro camera to get footage of the expo and golf course.

LaRosa said he’s not claiming to be the first publicist to use a drone to promote a local entertainment venue. But, he said, “I was definitely ahead of Doug.”

Elmets’ response? If LaRosa used a drone commercially that long ago, it wasn’t an approved use. His final say on the matter: LaRosa just “winged” it.