Railyards Update 351

Now that the investment group has taken control of the project, as reported by the Sacramento Bee, we hope they bring in a strong local developer to do the work, who has the depth of commitment to Sacramento to ensure this major project gets done and done well.

An excerpt.

“A week after dramatically taking ownership of Sacramento’s railyard, an Illinois real estate firm has set up shop in a downtown high-rise with two immediate goals.

“Representatives of Inland American Real Estate Trust Inc. say they want to calm nerves in the capital city after a summer of uncertainty over the fate of the railyard, and to take quick steps to get the redevelopment project back on track.

“That includes working with the state to issue paychecks to railyard contractors who have done roadwork for several months without compensation. The state withheld grant funding as the site’s future drifted in limbo.

“In a brief statement issued Friday, Inland also indicated that it is willing to listen to any development suggestions – including an arena – that could make sense for the site.

“The real estate investment trust took control of the 200-acre railyard site at an auction on the courthouse steps Oct. 22 after the previous owner, Atlanta-based Thomas Enterprises, couldn’t pay its bills, including $193 million it owed Inland.

“It was an unusual move for Inland, done to protect investors from the bad loan. The company normally buys up-and-running, moneymaking properties such as hotels, shopping centers and apartments, not blank expanses of undeveloped dirt.

“City officials, however, say they are relieved and energized by the arrival of a deep-pocketed owner.

“We have a well-capitalized partner in the railyards,” said Assistant City Manager John Dangberg. “We are definitely upbeat at this point.”

“The previous owner, Thomas Enterprises, a development company, got pummeled in the economic downturn. In contrast, Inland’s most recent balance sheet boasts $12 billion in assets, with 980 properties in its portfolio. Retail Traffic magazine recently ranked Inland the eighth largest retail real estate owner in the country.

“The 6-year-old company, one of five investment trusts grouped under the Inland American companies umbrella, also invests in office buildings, apartments and industrial centers.”

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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