The Sacramento City Council took a major step Thursday in its effort to add thousands of new residents to the central city.
After years of rumors that the Whole Foods chain was eying locations in the grid, the City Council unanimously approved plans for a new store near 21st and L streets in midtown. The project also includes 141 apartments within the six-story building, making it likely the largest residential development built in the central city in nearly a decade.
Councilman Steve Hansen, who represents midtown, called the project “catalytic.”
“This is a new iconic project for midtown,” he said. “Providing more access to food you can walk to, food you can bike to is important to rebuilding the residential community (of the central city).”
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Mayor Kevin Johnson and other city leaders have set a goal of adding 10,000 housing units to the central city over the next 10 years. The mayor said “the Whole Foods is a perfect example of that” campaign.
John Pappas of Pappas Investments, the project developer, said he anticipates construction will begin next spring. The 41,000-square-foot Whole Foods should be completed by the end of 2017, with the apartments finished soon after that, he said.
The store will replace a two-story parking garage on the north side of L Street, between 20th and 21st streets.
In addition to the Whole Foods, Pappas Investments also plans to construct a six-story parking garage on an empty lot at 21st Street and Capitol Avenue. Construction of the garage will start soon to provide spaces for drivers who use the current two-story garage on L Street.
No one spoke in opposition to the project, and the proposal was passed after a quick City Council debate.
Bob Thomas, speaking on behalf of the Faces nightclub, said owners of the longtime club on K Street were initially worried about being so close to dozens of new apartments. The rear of Faces sits across an alley from the back of the Whole Foods property.
But Thomas said the developers agreed to add sound-proof glass to apartment windows and ask tenants to sign “noise disclosure” documents.
Thomas did express some concern about parking in the area. Some neighbors had expressed concerns to city staffers that the project could negatively affect the character of the neighborhood.