Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Going Vertical

The increased building in Sacramento urban areas is exciting to watch and will slowly begin to create the 24 hour city the central core needs to become the sustainable heart of our region.

The brownstones are coming
East Coast icon offers urban chic on compact lots
By Jim Wasserman - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDT Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sacramento home builders are tapping that venerable icon of East Coast architecture -- the brownstone -- to stir sales for nearly 100 new three-story town houses coming to midtown.

They don't look like much now as construction begins. But as the new homes begin to sprout on vacant land in one of the city's oldest neighborhoods, builders say they'll evoke a classic brownstone ambience with their sturdy stone exteriors, second-story kitchens and living rooms and third-floor bedrooms.

The vertical, narrow homes are a key in the push for higher density housing in the region -- with up to 43 units per acre compared to the five or 10 per acre common in the area's suburbs -- and new examples of how in-fill projects are being used to turn the concept into reality.

"We were looking for something with urban cachet and it evolved very quickly into the brownstone concept," said Kevin Noell, partner in Metro Nova Communities.
Noell, a San Diego builder, and his development partners Tony Giannoni and Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis plan 58 brownstone-style homes on 3 acres at 21st and U streets in a project dubbed Tapestri Square. Three models are under construction.

None of the new Sacramento homes will be exact replicas of the brownstones that populate the streets in eastern cities like New York and, increasingly, some Western cities such as Portland, Ore. Neither do they share common walls, a standard feature of the homes that originated as multistory European row houses.

But they do mimic the narrow widths common to homes built in urban areas: The buildings at Tapestri Square range from 16 1/2 feet wide to 24 feet wide.