Bob Shallit

‘Culinary concourse’ proposed for downtown Sacramento

Downtown Sacramento’s historic D.O. Mills Bank Building could become a farm-to-fork showplace featuring a dozen high-end eating spots under plans being floated by the owners of the ornate, century-old building.

Plans call for converting the building’s ground floor, now used as the Sacramento Grand Ballroom events space, into what’s being called a “culinary concourse,” with a bar and seating in the middle surrounded by a collection of restaurants and food kiosks.

The idea is to replicate the feel of San Francisco’s Ferry Building or the Oxbow Public Market in Napa, where multiple restaurants and related businesses operate synergistically in the same space, said Valerie Mamone-Werder, business development manager with the Downtown Sacramento Partnership.

“It’s unique to the downtown area,” Mamone-Werder said. “Nobody’s done anything like this.”

A similar concept, the Milagro Centre, is set to open early this year in Carmichael.

The downtown project is being marketed by brokers Kelly Rivett and Ali Nadimi with Newmark Cornish & Carey, according to a company flier, but they declined to comment on the planned development.

The building’s owners, the Cameron family, could not be reached for comment.

The five-level neoclassical building, at the northwest corner of Seventh and J streets, originally opened as a bank in 1912 and later was named for D.O. Mills, one of the state’s Gold Rush banking pioneers. Over the past two decades, the first floor has operated as an events center for weddings and other big gatherings.

That area retains many of its original bank lobby features, including marble floors, a 45-foot-high gold-leaf ceiling, brass teller windows, huge chandeliers and hand-carved revolving doors. The original bank vault remains in the building’s basement.

A 1992 renovation added a rooftop greenhouse and garden with water features and pergolas.

The new plan, which has been the subject of preliminary talks with city officials, is to open seven full-service restaurants and five food-related kiosks on the building’s 9,000-square-foot ground floor and create a destination that Mamone-Werder described as “very much experience-based.”

“You won’t go in just to get something to eat,” she said. “You’ll sit down, meet with friends, get a cocktail, meander around, sample different places and complete (the visit) with a dessert.”

Mamone-Werder said the business would benefit from its location, across the street from Downtown Commons, site of the new Golden1 Center arena, and less than two blocks from a Kaiser Permanente medical office building that’s set to open toward the end of next year with 700 employees.

“It’s an exciting concept,” she said of the culinary concourse idea, “and I think with the increase in the amount of people who are going to be (downtown) day and night, it’s positioned perfectly.”

Sushi bar vandalism being probed

Last month’s late-night vandalism incident at midtown’s Tamaya Sushi Bar & Grill is now the subject of a Sacramento Police Department investigation, according to the leasing manager for the property.

Mary Mesa said this week she’s been informed that an investigator has been assigned to look into the incident that happened the evening of Dec. 3 after former operators of the business lost their lease.

The damage could reach $500,000, Mesa said, noting that ceilings were pulled down, toilets smashed, tiles destroyed and plumbing systems clogged with concrete.

The debris has since been cleaned up, but Mesa sent photos of the damage to the police and called several times. “Persistence paid off,” she said.

She said the owners have not decided yet on a new tenant. But one possibility is David Leung, a restaurateur interested in opening Asian fusion eatery there, she said.