Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Railroad Yard Deadline?

In the longest running public works saga without resolution…ooops that would really be the K Street Mall…but never mind, the chance for a deal by the end of the year appears…promising?

Railyard deal looks near
City, developer must first agree on plan to move tracks
By Mary Lynne Vellinga - Bee Staff Writer Published 12:00 am PST Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sacramento city officials are finalizing a key agreement with the downtown railyard developer that would allow building to finally move forward on the shuttered industrial site -- one of the nation's largest.

"This is further along than we've ever gotten, and we're gaining steam," said Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo.

Despite Sacramento voters' resounding rejection earlier this month of a sales tax increase to build a new Kings arena in the railyard, city leaders say they still expect Georgia developer Stan Thomas to break ground by next year for an ambitious project that would include 10,000 housing units, offices and shops.

Before that can happen, however, the city and Thomas must reach agreement on a plan to move the existing freight and passenger tracks about 300 feet to the north -- something Fargo said would cost about $40 million.

Moving the tracks would open up land for development and make it possible for Thomas to elevate Fifth and Sixth streets over the tracks on footings paid for by the city as part of the deal.

In addition, the city needs to make a deal with Thomas to buy the land needed for a planned train, bus and light-rail complex. Thomas' local development team has described the station as a key anchor for the planned development, and it's long been one of the city's top priorities as well.

City staff members are finalizing the agreements on the land purchase and track relocation, and had planned to present them to the City Council at today's session. That presentation has been postponed until Dec. 5.