Real Estate News

Controversial developer buys downtown Sacramento buildings

Moe Mohanna, who had difficult dealings with Sacramento in talks that resulted in an eminent domain legal case, has bought buildings again on K Street.
Moe Mohanna, who had difficult dealings with Sacramento in talks that resulted in an eminent domain legal case, has bought buildings again on K Street. Sacramento Bee file

Developer Moe Mohanna, who spent years fighting with Sacramento officials over his refusal to sell several buildings in a blighted stretch of downtown, has purchased three vacant buildings one block over.

The three buildings sit next to each other on K Street, between Ninth and 10th streets, in a section of downtown that’s become attractive to developers in recent months. Mohanna, in a prepared statement, said he “will be repositioning this prime assemblage of properties by bringing an urban mix of retailers and office tenants.

“Four decades ago, I began investing and restoring properties in downtown Sacramento because I have always believed in the potential of our city,” he added. “Through good times and bad, my faith in downtown has never waned.”

Mohanna’s firm, 10 Kay, bought the buildings for a combined $5.3 million from Owens Realty Mortgage of Walnut Creek, according to Sacramento County property records.

The purchase could bring up uncomfortable memories for city officials. They spent years trying to persuade Mohanna to sell them a cluster of nine buildings on the 700 and 800 blocks of K Street, which the city was eager to redevelop. When talks stalled, the city filed an eminent domain lawsuit in 2008. The case was settled eight months later, with the city agreeing to pay Mohanna about $18 million for the properties.

“This is the right thing to do for the community,” Mohanna said after the case was settled. “It's the right thing to do for my family. It’s been a bitter fight.”

John Dangberg, assistant city manager, said he isn’t aware of any plans for the buildings and he had no comment on the purchase or Mohanna’s difficult history with city officials.

Michael Ault of the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, which represents downtown property owners, said, “I think this is a great opportunity for them to not just reinvest in the area, but to be part of this momentum downtown. We’re aware that Moe has the resources to be able to do a pretty significant project.”

The three buildings comprise a total of 32,000 square feet of space on the south side of K Street, on a difficult corridor that’s beginning to see signs of life. Developers Ali Youssefi and Bay Miry broke ground in March on a $55 million redevelopment project on the 700 block of K Street, just east of the site where the Sacramento Kings are building their new arena. Youssefi and Miry plan to construct a mix of housing and retail. The city is seeking buyers for several parcels on the 800 block; the Kings have the right to match any offer for the properties.

Dale Kasler: (916) 321-1066, @dakasler. The Bee’s Ryan Lillis contributed to this report.

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