City Beat

Condos are coming to Capitol Mall. Here’s why city officials are less than enthusiastic

Sacramento’s Capitol Mall is about to get its first significant housing structure. But some city officials think the plans aren’t bold enough for the city’s grandest thoroughfare.

San Francisco-based Shorenstein Properties submitted plans to the city this week to construct an eight-story residential building at 601 Capitol Mall, replacing a parking lot next to the U.S. Bank Tower.

The structure – with a planned 162 units – would be the largest residential building on Capitol Mall. But at 83 feet at its highest point, it would be dwarfed by nearby high-rise office towers.

By comparison, the neighboring U.S. Bank Tower is just over 400 feet - nearly five times as tall as the proposed building.

The Shorenstein building would also be much shorter than the residential project once proposed for Capitol Mall: twin 53-story towers at Third Street that were scrapped in 2006.

Shorenstein received City Council approval earlier this year to lower the previously-approved height requirements for the site. At the time, Shorenstein said it preferred “to build a mid-rise residential project of approximately 150 units, indicating that this type of development is more commercially feasible at this time,” according to a city staff report.

Ryan DeVore, director of the city’s community development department, said Friday he was still hoping the company would settle on a more ambitious plan. The original approval for the site would have allowed a building 400 feet high, a 500-room hotel or a 300-unit residential building.

“I was a little disappointed they didn’t go with a more aggressive plan on Capitol Mall,” DeVore said.

Still, the building would bring 24-hour attention to Capitol Mall and fill a key empty space in the central city. It would have a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units ranging in size from 538 square feet to 1,210 square feet. It is unclear whether the units would be rented or sold.

The structure would cover most of the lot between Capitol Mall and L Street, with the north side facing Golden 1 Center.

The building would have six floors of condos on top of two floors of parking and ground floor retail, according to an application filed with the city. There would be a roof terrace and 40 units would have private balconies.

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