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Blue Diamond will demolish historic building after city council OK’s plan

Workers sort almonds at the Blue Diamond plant in Sacramento in 2011.
Workers sort almonds at the Blue Diamond plant in Sacramento in 2011. Sacramento Bee file

Sacramento will allow Blue Diamond Growers to remove a North 16th Street building from the city’s historic register and demolish it to make way for loading docks.

The City Council gave the go-ahead to the Sacramento company Tuesday, going against recommendations from city staff and the Preservation Commission.

“Staff determined the building meets all the requisite criteria and should remain listed as a contributing resource to the North 16th Street Historic District,” Sean de Courcy, a city preservation planner, told the council. “Demolishing the building is inconsistent with city code requirements and demolishing a historic building would require an (Environmental Impact Report).”

The company obtained its own report from historic consultants, which found the 83-year-old building at 131 N. 16th St. should not be on the register, partly because it had been significantly altered before Blue Diamond bought it, a company representative said.

Bill Burg, president of Preservation Sacramento, urged council to decline Blue Diamond’s request.

“Sometimes it is necessary to demolish historic buildings, but it should never be done without consideration of alternatives and effects,” Burg said.

Patty Kleinknecht, executive director of the River District nonprofit association representing business and property owners, urged the council to grant the request.

“We want Blue Diamond to remain in the River District. We want them to be successful in this site,” she said.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg echoed the comment.

“We need more high-wage employers in this city,” Steinberg said. “We want Blue Diamond to expand here, not in other great cities in California.”

The item passed 8-0 with Councilwoman Angelique Ashby absent.

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