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Modular apartments hoisted into place in midtown Sacramento

Workers place a modular piece of the Eviva Midtown apartments. One lane of 16th Street was closed for the work and will be in the coming weeks.
Workers place a modular piece of the Eviva Midtown apartments. One lane of 16th Street was closed for the work and will be in the coming weeks. rpench@sacbee.com

Sacramento’s 16th Street once was a tired and uninviting corridor, used mainly by commuters hurrying to other areas of the central city. Now, it’s become midtown’s “pop-up” neighborhood, where sidewalks are filled with residents and visitors, and where construction is in hurry-up mode.

Crews began work Wednesday on the installation phase of the area’s latest apartment project, a 118-unit, six-story building, called Eviva Midtown, at 16th and N streets. The name Eviva was coined by the project developers from the the word “revival.”

It’s billed as the first pre-fabricated, modular apartment building in the region. Units are individually manufactured at a factory in Boise, Idaho, and shipped to Sacramento with most of their interior finishes in place. That includes coverings, appliances, ceiling fans, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, sinks, and tubs, plumbing, lighting fixtures and paint.

Workers were expected to begin hoisting the 60-foot modules into place via crane beginning Wednesday afternoon. The modular approach is expected to cut construction time by two-thirds.

State redevelopment officials say the upscale Eviva project is part of a years-long effort to turn the area into a true neighborhood, an effort that has come to fruition.

The 16 Powerhouse apartments opened this summer two blocks away. The downstairs of that complex bustles with the Magpie restaurant and Insight coffeehouse. The Legado de Ravel apartments opened last year a block away, with a distinctive tile lizard on the wall, and a sprawling University of Beer outlet below. Those buildings were preceded by the Fremont Building apartments across 16th Street.

Early work has begun as well a few blocks south at 16th and R streets on what could be the corridor’s biggest turnaround of all, the Ice Blocks, a three-block housing and mixed-use complex at an old industrial and warehouse site.

“Sixteenth Street is definitely becoming the premier mixed-use midtown neighborhood in my view,” said Denton Kelley of LDK Ventures, co-developer of the Eviva project in conjunction with Integral Group of Atlanta. He cited access to state jobs, light rail, and downtown and midtown retail sites as drawing points.

“It’s a demonstration that the vision we had for this corridor is coming to fruition,” said Marc de la Vergne, deputy executive director of the Capitol Area Development Authority, the joint city-state agency that has spent decades redeveloping state-owned land around the Capitol. “It is finally filling in. It really needed to be filled.”

The existing and planned projects on 16th Street add up to nearly 500 housing units. That number tops 600 when the recently opened nearby Warehouse Artists Lofts complex on R Street is included.

With the emergence of the redeveloped area comes the question: Should the neighborhood have a name?

Officials with CADA, which helped fund the project, informally refer to the area as the East End Gateway, a reference to the state offices at the east end of Capitol Park. But CADA’s de la Vergne said he’d prefer not to impose a name on the area, instead letting it happen naturally, if it happens at all.

Eviva developers and redevelopment officials are promoting the project’s unusual modular concept this week, saying it reduces construction issues in the neighborhood.

The modules are being hauled via flatbed truck from a storage area in the downtown railyard. Crews are expected to lift six modules a day into place over the next eight weeks. When all modules are in place, workers will add a roof and exterior finishes. The building is slated for completion in spring.

Using modules “more quickly produces a completed project and minimizes neighborhood disruptions including noise, traffic and construction dust and debris,” de la Vergne said. The project construction is, however, is expected to cause some traffic slowdowns. To bring the modules in, crews closed one of three lanes on 16th Street.

Rents are expected to range from about $1,700 for one-bedroom apartments to $2,200 for two-bedroom units. There building’s ground floor will contain about 5,000 square feet of retail space.

Tony Bizjak: 916-321-1059, @TonyBizjak

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