Jim Anderson got a pacemaker a few weeks ago. Then he did something that really got his heart racing.
He picked up the keys to the priciest piece of residential real estate in the region in years, the $4.1 million penthouse atop the 16-story Sawyer hotel and condominium tower downtown.
"It's an awful lot of money," Anderson admitted. By one analyst's account, it's the third-highest price paid for a home in Sacramento County history.
But the 69-year-old construction products industry retiree says he and his wife are excited and looking forward to the downtown lifestyle that will include Sacramento Kings basketball games, restaurants, theater and dinner parties backed by the best views in the valley.
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"It's going to be neat," he said. "I'm going to enjoy it."
The tower, which fronts J Street on one side and overlooks the Golden 1 Center arena on the other, remains under construction, slowed over the past year amid construction disputes. The tower is a partnership of the Kings and JMA Ventures.
The 250-room Kimpton Sawyer Hotel portion of the tower opened last fall, as did the Revival lounge and night club. Punch Bowl Social, a restaurant, bar, bowling alley and game-playing venue, opened late last year, and Echo & Rig Steakhouse opened this spring.
Sacramento Kings officials say sales contracts have been signed for 39 of the 45 condo units, and the first few residents have moved in. Anderson, one of the first to get his deed, has to wait before moving into his 3,300-square-foot penthouse. He and his wife are making some interior alterations first.
Anderson's eye-opening $4.1 million purchase price is the outlier, for now. Other condo sale prices in the tower are $1.5 million, $1.1 million, $1 million, $950,000 and $598,000, according to the first six deed transfers filed at the county recorder's office.
Sacramento real estate appraiser Ryan Lundquist, who publishes the Sacramento Appraisal Blog, said the penthouse price tag is the third highest in county history, tied with a 2004 sale of the former governor's mansion in Carmichael. The highest sales price was $4.7 million for a home in Sierra Oaks five years ago, followed by a $4.6 million Elk Grove sale in 2005.
Lundquist said the $4.1 million sale indicates the downtown housing market is growing up and becoming more desirable, but the sale is a "lone ranger" in real estate terms and likely won't affect other housing prices, because the penthouse condo is unique.
Anderson and his family have a long history locally. A third-generation Sacramentan, he was born on a Wilton farm. His father, Fred Anderson, founded Pacific Coast Building Products and numerous subsidiaries and was in the ownership group that brought the Kings here from Kansas City in 1985. The Anderson and Lucchetti families contributed $18 million in 2005 to Sutter Health to build a maternity and pediatrics hospital that bears the families' names.
Anderson said he and his wife, Jacquelyn, toured the tower last year on an invitation from the Kings and JMA and loved the look, feel and location in the heart of downtown. His unit has floor-to-ceiling windows and panoramic views. "I can see Mount Shasta from my balcony on a clear day," he said.
Anderson said he will keep his suburban home on the American River and use the condo a few dozen nights a year as a pied-a-terre, allowing him to go to events and games and not have to deal with freeway traffic into downtown and night-driving afterward.
Anderson said he's not placing any bets on the condo as an investment, but, "if it does increase in value, that's OK with me."
The Kings are promoting the condos, called The Residences at The Sawyer, as the most luxurious and amenity-rich lifestyle in Sacramento.
Valets will park residents' cars in an underground garage. Bellboys will carry groceries to residents' units. A concierge will book hotel rooms for residents' guests, make dinner reservations for them at the Echo & Rig restaurant or book a cabana at the pool on the third-floor deck. Residents can access the arena via a tunnel entrance under the arena plaza.
Rex Bennett, an executive with VSP in Rancho Cordova and a Kings season ticket holder since 1985, moved two weeks ago into one of the smaller units, a one-bedroom, 800-square-foot condo on the 14th floor that he bought for $598,000.
He and his partner Otto DeLeon share it with two miniature Schnauzers, Fritz and Hans, and furnished it last weekend with a visit to IKEA.
They previously owned a home in Natomas. Now, Bennett said, they love the lively feel of downtown but also the fact that they can attend Kings games just a couple of steps from their front door. He takes quiet pleasure looking out the floor-to-ceiling windows at the cityscape and the valley beyond. "I'm amazed how far you can see."
One aspect of that panorama gives him special satisfaction — the sight of snaking lines of cars below on Interstate 5.
"I can see all the traffic I'm avoiding by living in the downtown," he said.