Real Estate News

Remember the old state fairgrounds? It’s Sacramento’s newest urban housing hot spot

This is what Sacramento’s newest hot urban homes look like

About 100 homes are going up at The Grounds At Tahoe Park in Sacramento, on land where the old California State Fair was held before moving to Cal Expo.
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About 100 homes are going up at The Grounds At Tahoe Park in Sacramento, on land where the old California State Fair was held before moving to Cal Expo.

Tahoe Park has long been the quiet sibling to fancier central Sacramento neighborhoods such as Curtis Park, Land Park and East Sacramento. Now, it’s getting serious notice of its own from home builders and buyers.

The first of 100-plus planned homes in two new subdivisions are popping up this year near Broadway a few hundred yards east of the UC Davis Medical Center.

True to Tahoe Park’s low-key nature, the first 44 homes, called The Grounds At Tahoe Park, are hard to find, tucked away on Fairgrounds Drive, a little loop street behind an aging housing project with no other connecting streets.

Longtime Sacramentans will remember the spot as part of the former California State Fair grounds before the fair was moved to Cal Expo.

The Grounds hasn’t been under the radar though among buyers. It’s already nearly sold out at home prices that ranged from $480,000 to $573,000. Only the two model homes are left to be sold.

But the housing options there could soon expand. A Southern California developer last week asked for city OK to build 68 more single-family homes on nine acres of empty land across the street from The Grounds. No details of that project proposal have yet been released.

At 112 homes, the two projects together will not be nearly as large as other major infill housing in central Sacramento communities. McKinley Village, another tucked-away community in East Sacramento, will have more than 300 homes when finished. Crocker Village, adjacent to Curtis Park, also will be a 300-plus-unit project when filled out.

But the projects on Fairgrounds Drive inject new housing into an aging community and invite the possibility that other vacant parcels in Tahoe Park may get a new look from builders, City Councilman Eric Guerra said.

“People want to live in Tahoe Park,” Guerra said. But it’s been hard for growing families to find a place because many Tahoe Park houses, built in the 1940s and 1950s, are small by modern standards. “If your family is expanding, this is an option to upgrade and still stay in the neighborhood.”

Among them is April Javist, executive director of the Sacramento Public Library Foundation, who just got married.

She and her partner have three children and needed a bigger house. They didn’t know about The Grounds, even though it is a few blocks from their current house, until they saw a sales sign on Broadway. They visited and immediately bought a 2,500-square foot, four-bedroom, three-bath, two-story home. Javist calls it a bargain at $562,000 compared to the cost per square foot of existing homes in some of Sacramento’s tonier central neighborhoods.

A similarly sized Tudor home in Crocker Village this week was priced at $712,000. In McKinley Village, a slightly smaller two-story home was priced at $800,000.

“We knew right away it was the right thing to do,” she said. Her mom is buying a house there as well. Meanwhile, three people have asked about buying their nearby 1,200-square-foot house, although it isn’t yet on the market. “There seems to be a lot of interest in Tahoe Park.”

The Grounds at Tahoe Park, which sits on a series of cul-de-sacs, has a Folsom or Roseville suburban-style look. But the location is urban, near schools, jobs, downtown, Sacramento State University and the medical center

Some of the homes are being constructed with two master bedrooms, a design strategy by builder Reynen & Bardis to help a young single professional buy a home and bring on a housemate to help pay the mortgage. That style of house is usable as well for families with three generations under one roof.

Jack Reynen and Katherine Bardis, both members of the build team, say they felt homes would sell well in Tahoe Park if priced right because the project is centrally located and near the medical center. Among the new buyers are doctors and nurses, they said.

Bardis calls Tahoe Park a neighborhood with “heart, soul and history.” She also is developing the Mill at Broadway community at the far west end of Broadway.

City officials say they are pleased that developers and builders have been filling in empty central city sites with new housing in the last few years.

“It is nice to see some creativity in identifying sites for housing that aren’t the traditional sites,” Sacramento city community development director Ryan DeVore said. “It’s important for the growth of the city to utilize these almost hidden or under-appreciated opportunity sites near amenities.”

Guerra said local residents have been supportive of the new housing plans, although it will mean more cars on busy and sometimes speedy Broadway. Residents asked for and will get a special pedestrian signal light on Broadway, Guerra said.

In Guerra’s view, the housing represents a step forward for the site. City housing officials built apartments there after the state fair moved. The apartments were torn down, though, years ago, leaving an empty grass field and unused parking lots.

Guerra said he hopes for more infill projects of different types, including some affordable housing.

“There are a lot of vacant lots south of Broadway that could be good spaces with different types of projects,” he said. “Some people want town homes without yards. Some people do want a yard.

“What I’m looking to push: Let’s figure out how to take care of these vacant lots.”

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