Bob Shallit

Midtown Sacramento apartment design may push the envelope

A conceptual rendering of the proposed Press Building at 21st and Q streets shows the “Bee block” concept, one of six exterior designs under consideration for the structure.
A conceptual rendering of the proposed Press Building at 21st and Q streets shows the “Bee block” concept, one of six exterior designs under consideration for the structure. C2K Architecture/SKK

The planned centerpiece of a huge midtown development project could feature whimsical design elements that pay tribute to Sacramento’s historic newspaper industry.

Developer Sotiris Kolokotronis, who is planning a five-story apartment complex across the street from The Sacramento Bee’s offices and printing facilities, is now considering six different architectural proposals for the mixed-use structure, to be called the Press Building.

Among them: a design with rolling walls designed to evoke the look of newsprint moving through a printing press, and another with hexagonal honeycomb accents to play on the newspaper’s name.

The designs from C2K Architecture in Portland were unveiled to a group of developers, architects and neighborhood residents Thursday night in a collaborative process Kolokotronis has used in the past to get feedback and fine-tune designs.

“We like to see new ideas and options and engage the community,” the developer said.

“This is the best part of my business,” he added.

The apartment building, to go atop The Bee’s existing parking garage, is one of three related projects that Kolokotronis is calling Midtown Quarters.

The first of the three, called Q19, is an L-shaped, 68-unit apartment building that will get under construction in January or February, “weather permitting,” Kolokotronis told the group that gathered Thursday evening at the Old Soul coffee shop.

A second element, 32 detached townhouses being built by The Grupe Co. along 20th Street, could be under way in the spring, he said. And work on the Press Building, with up to 300 apartment units, could start in the fall.

The basic structure of the Press Building has been set. Taking up a full block, it will have two facing structures, each with lots of patios and balconies, and a large courtyard in the center.

Apartments will range from studios to three-bedroom units, and rents will go from about $1,300 to $3,000, Kolokotronis said Thursday.

But what remains to be settled is the exterior look.

“You can have the same basic building but you put different clothes on it,” he said. “It’s how you dress it.”

The “clothing” choices unveiled Thursday vary from traditional options to a couple that push the architectural envelope. Besides the “Loop Building” design with the printing-press look and the honeycombed “Bee Block,” architects proposed a “Modern Edge” model with bright white and gray elements accented by massive black and white “ribbons.”

Other design options are called “Press Block,” “Contemporary Shift” and “Historic Modern.”

Kevin Sauser, a principal with C2K, said the advantage of the more inventive designs is they “help tell the story” of the site’s history and inspire more risk-taking by other builders.

“It helps to begin to modernize the city in the way the (downtown) arena is doing,” he said. He also said his team is looking to incorporate some design elements to honor the Buffalo Brewery that once stood at the newspaper’s current site.

Kolokotronis said a final design decision will be made in coming weeks.

Making an impression

The local founder of an Uber-style phone app that helps people make and pay for restaurant meals is getting some new national recognition.

Sonny Mayugba, the entrepreneur behind Requested, was one of 58 speakers at Launch Scale, an event held in San Francisco in October to help startup companies.

This year the 4,000 attendees ranked the presentations and Mayugba has just learned he came in No. 1. “I’m a no-name” compared to other speakers, who included founders of some of the nation’s hottest emerging companies, Mayugba said.

But he figured he did well because his presentation was “actionable” – offering a road map on how to build a company using “street teams” that approach pedestrians and talk them into trying out a product.

One of the conference attendees, an entrepreneur from the Czech Republic, was so impressed that he wrote in his blog: “I might move to the U.S. because of it.”

Said Mayugba of the blogger: “I think he was kind of inspired to go for it with his company, and that’s cool.”

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