Monday, November 27, 2006

Del Paso Rebirth

Wonderful news for Del Paso Boulevard and North Sacramento!

Now if the public leadership can follow the revitalization example being set by the private leadership, and do something about the illegal camping on the Parkway, that area could truly be reborn.

Bob Shallit: Bright hopes for Del Paso's makeover
By Bob Shallit - Bee Columnist Published 12:00 am PST Monday, November 27, 2006

The revitalization of Del Paso Boulevard is about to get a powerful jump-start.

The gritty urban stretch has seen some upscale restaurants arrive over the past decade. The Limn furniture store is a success. Some art galleries have come and gone.

Now the first signs of a new kind of growth -- office, retail and housing -- are emerging along a boulevard long appreciated for its proximity to downtown but shunned for its image as a crime magnet.

"This area is coming, it's really coming," says Allen Warren, whose New Faze Development is leading the charge to rejuvenate Del Paso.

Chief among the new projects is a headquarters building for New Faze -- a 50,000-square-foot, brick-and-glass complex at Del Paso and Fairfield Street that will include 27 condo units priced at around $300,000, along with a restaurant and office space. One cool feature: a hydraulic stack-parking system on the first floor. A car is driven onto a three-tiered rack that's lowered below ground, creating space for another car, then lowered again for a third car. Car owners can bring their vehicles back up to street level at the touch of a button.

Construction on the entire complex is set to begin by mid-year. A block to the west, New Faze has just acquired the former Grand Theater, which has served as a church for several decades.
The plan is to remove half the seats and convert the place into a dinner theater for plays, comedy shows, jazz concerts and art films. That project also should get under way by midyear.
Next on New Faze's agenda is a mixed-use project combining 38 town homes, a restaurant and a "working class" art museum. It will sit on a triangular block bordered by Del Paso, Beaumont Street and Darina Avenue.

Warren, who was raised in the Del Paso area and is passionate about its rebirth, knows it's one thing to attract eateries and shops to a tough neighborhood -- and another to persuade people to live there.

But he believes young professionals seeking "a true urban experience" and those priced out of the downtown condo market will flock to relatively inexpensive housing on Del Paso. Those pioneers will spread the word. Somewhere down the line -- perhaps when 300 or 400 units are built out -- a "tipping point" will be reached, making Del Paso a "vibrant urban corridor," Warren says.