City Beat

K Street development about to start

The former Burt’s Shoes store in the 700 block of K Street would be part of a major redevelopment project that recently closed escrow on its financing.
The former Burt’s Shoes store in the 700 block of K Street would be part of a major redevelopment project that recently closed escrow on its financing.

Construction of a new sports arena in downtown Sacramento is well underway. There are plans to rehab the old Marshall Hotel on Seventh Street, and a development company has announced a proposal to construct a 26-story office tower on J Street.

And now, a project that city officials and developers have targeted for years as a key to downtown’s health is finally about to start construction.

The developers behind a large mix of apartments and shops planned for the decrepit 700 block of K Street have closed escrow on financing for the project and should begin work within days, they said Monday. The project would transform a blighted, empty stretch of the street into a row of restaurants, bars and coffee shops run by some of the region’s best-known operators.

“This project is exciting because it encompasses so much of what we want and need in our city: predominantly local retail, a mix of market rate and affordable housing, and underground parking,” developer Bay Miry of D&S Development, one of the firms behind the project, said in an email.

Ali Youssefi of CFY Development, the other firm involved in the work, said closing escrow on the project’s financing “is by far the most important step to date.” The developers are contributing nearly $40 million to the project. Public contributions will total about $13 million, most of it from affordable-housing subsidies.

Miry said the “core group of retailers” involved in the block include the owners of Shady Lady Saloon on R Street, Kru sushi in midtown, Insight Coffee Roasters and The Red Rabbit on J Street. Other retailers have expressed interest in the block, and Miry said the shops would be “predominantly local.”

“We put a great deal of thought into how the project will activate K Street,” Miry said.

The plans also call for 137 units of housing, a big influx as city officials try to attract more residents to the central city. Some buildings on the block are historic, and Miry said the development would preserve those structures.

Miry said the developers also have “a strong desire to make rooftop decks a key component of the project.” He said rooftop decks would be built on several of the restaurant and bar spaces. A deck with expansive views of the Capitol and downtown skyline is also planned for the top of a six-story residential building on the block.

The city of Sacramento has spent years – and millions in public money – acquiring properties on the 700 and 800 blocks of K Street in the hopes of turning the area around. Plans for the 800 block have stalled.

The 700 block borders the eastern edge of Downtown Plaza and will stand within view of the new arena. Earlier this month, a development team said it is planning to convert the now-vacant Marshall Hotel into a 10-story Hyatt Place hotel. The hotel is less than a block from the edge of the K Street development.

Michael Ault, executive director of the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, said the 700 block of K Street is a “key transition” between the arena site and a row of restaurants, shops and bars on the eastern end of the former pedestrian mall.

“When you look out of the new arena, we needed something to build on the momentum,” he said. “Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.”

Call The Bee’s Ryan Lillis, (916) 321-1085. Read his City Beat blog at