Friday, July 16, 2010

K Street Drama Continues

In the never-ending futility of developing the lower-end of K Street, the City Council has chosen an approach I dearly hope brings my hometown the downtown it deserves, as reported by the Sacramento Bee.

An excerpt.

“The decades-long effort to revitalize downtown Sacramento's K Street got a second wind Tuesday night.

“The City Council voted 5-4 to negotiate with two development teams proposing to build more than 200 housing units, shops and restaurants along two downtrodden blocks of the K Street Mall.

“The vote spurned a more elaborate proposal by developer Rubicon Partners to bring a year-round market similar to San Francisco's Ferry Building, a music venue and a 10-story housing complex to K Street. That plan faced at least a $50 million funding gap.

"We need to be more realistic," Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy said.

“By voting to negotiate with local developers D&S and David Taylor for a combined proposal for the 700 and 800 blocks of K Street, the city in essence agreed to hand the firms $42 million worth of downtown properties it has spent years acquiring.

“Officials with both D&S and Taylor's firm told city officials they could complete their projects by 2012. In the end, that quick turnaround – along with proposals described as more modest than Rubicon's – pushed the council vote.

“For at least a decade, the 700 and 800 blocks of K Street have been a source of hope and frustration for city officials.

“In 2005, the city chose Joe Zeiden, owner of the Z Gallerie furniture chain, to redevelop the worn 700 block with upscale retail shops. At the same time, it picked a team including longtime property owner Moe Mohanna to develop the even more devastated 800 block.

“The city spent about $24 million acquiring properties to help with a complicated property swap, but Mohanna balked when it came time to turn his buildings in the 700 block over for Zeiden's use. In late 2008, after the city sued him, Mohanna agreed to sell his K Street properties to the city for $18.6 million.

“But by that time the economy was starting to falter, and Zeiden backed away. In 2009, his furniture company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

“The proposals by Rubicon, D&S and Taylor were the latest chapter in the city's fight to bring life to K Street.”