The R Street corridor took another big step this week toward becoming one of the most vibrant commercial districts in Sacramento.
A prominent Sacramento developer purchased a mostly vacant R Street property that houses the New Helvetia Theatre and is looking at potential uses for the empty spaces.
Cordano Co.’s purchase of the building, at the southwest corner of 11th and R streets, is the latest chapter in the R Street corridor’s renaissance. The company bought the one-story, red-brick property for an undisclosed price from two family trusts.
This isn’t Cordano’s first stab at R Street, which is being transformed from a gritty industrial district into an arts and entertainment hub. Cordano is already converting a former state office building at 15th and R streets into a restaurant and retail complex.
“You’re seeing just a lot of exciting things,” said Bay Miry of D&S Development, which is overhauling a former warehouse a block away from the New Helvetia site. “It’s been a step-by-step evolution, and it’s leading to an exciting corridor.”
Mark Cordano, an executive with family-owned Cordano Co., declined to comment Wednesday on the company’s plans for the 11th and R site. Stephen Dolim, an architect working with Cordano, said the theater company will stay but the developers are actively considering ideas for the rest of the site.
“It’s very early,” Dolim said.
David Herrera of Colliers International real estate, who represented the sellers, said he believes Cordano will act fairly quickly.
“What they’re going to do is going to complement the area,” Herrera said. “I do not envision them sitting around.”
The New Helvetia property is in the heart of a fairly busy construction zone. On the other side of 11th Street, Miry’s D&S company is working with Sacramento’s CFY Development to overhaul the 105-year-old B&G Rochdale building. The three-story structure, a former warehouse and grocery store, is being converted into a mixed-use site with an Italian restaurant on the ground floor and offices upstairs.
Immediately next door, CFY is completing the transformation of an old warehouse into the 116-unit Warehouse Artist Lofts.
“We’re hoping to start moving tenants in by the end of this year,” said Ali Youssefi of CFY. “The building’s about to truly take life.” More than 250 potential tenants applied for loft spaces, which will be a mix of affordable and market-rate housing.
Youssefi said a mix of commercial tenants is expected to take up the ground floor of the property, starting sometime early next year. The mix will include an art-themed public market, a barbershop that will double as a bar, a couple of clothing boutiques and a record store.
“We’re continuing to activate R Street,” Youssefi said. “R Street’s got a very unique character.”
The transformation of R Street hasn’t come cheaply. The Warehouse Artist project, for instance, represents a $41 million investment, while the Rochdale building is a $2.8 million project. The Capital Area Development Authority, a partnership between the city and state, has spent millions on infrastructure and other improvements in the district.
While the corridor has enjoyed considerable momentum in the past year or two, Miry said R Street is by no means an overnight success. He said the district started springing to life a decade ago, when developer Paul Petrovich opened the Safeway shopping center at R and 17th streets. That was followed by Sacramento restaurateur Randy Paragary’s food and entertainment complex at 15th Street, and Miry’s company’s restaurant and residential loft project immediately next door at 14th Street.
“Projects like that kind of set the tone,” Miry said.
Call The Bee’s Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler.