Real Estate News

Artsy senior project proposed to replace Clarion

A San Diego company plans to turn Sacramento’s vacant, ivy-covered Clarion Hotel into an artsy housing development for seniors.

The old hotel across from the historic Governor’s Mansion would be knocked down, and a four-story building with 165 apartments would take its place, according to an application filed with the city by Pacifica Companies, a San Diego developer.

The hotel operated at 16th and H streets for 54 years before closing in 2012. Pacifica operated the Clarion Hotel before it shut down.

Called the Senior Artist Community at Mansion Flats, the proposed project would cover a half block and include ground-floor retail space, said Colby Young, project manager for Pacifica. One-bedroom, two-bedroom and studio units would be leased at market rates, and one-fourth of the units would be dedicated to assisted living.

Plans also call for an art center that community members could rent out for displays or activities – a component added to fulfill the city’s vision of the surrounding area as an arts-and-entertainment district. The site is across the street from the Wells Fargo Pavilion, which houses the California Musical Theatre.

“The city has certain goals and policies in this district,” Young said. “We added this artist element to give it more artistic edge and make it more suited for this area.”

The community art space will be shared with the neighborhood association and other community organizations, said Luis Sumpter, president of Alkali and Mansion Flats Historic Neighborhood Association. The surrounding community supports the project, Sumpter said. The neighborhood association’s board made a decision to not oppose the demolition of the Clarion Hotel for a new property.

Pacifica Companies originally proposed a facility for memory-care residents, Young said. Residents of Mansion Flats objected to the proposal, Sumpter said, on the grounds that they wanted to see an influx of active residents who would participate in the community.

In a neighborhood with many housing units targeted for low-income people, Sumpter said the proposed project would bring more affluent residents who could pay market rents. “This building could be one more anchor for our neighborhood,” Sumpter said.

Pacifica Companies submitted an application for the project on May 21, said Stacia Cosgrove, a senior planner for the city. It is still being reviewed by the city and the neighborhood association. The proposal is expected to go before the city Planning Commission in late July or early August.

“We want to give the commission an opportunity to give feedback,” Cosgrove said. “This (project) is a full half block, so we want to make sure we hear everyone’s comments.”

Young said Pacifica still has to line up financing for the development. “The scope it still a little unclear because we are waiting on a couple of studies to come out,” he said.

The finalized budget and construction schedule will depend in part on whether the Clarion Hotel’s basement turns out to be usable, Young said.

Young said he’s confident that the project will be successful.

Housing experts predict the growing senior population will be a significant force in driving housing demand. Census figures show that about 40 Sacramento County residents, on average, turn 65 every day.

“There will definitely be competition, but I don’t think anything exists like we’re proposing,” Young said.