Infill Development

Though I am a dedicated suburban community advocate, I also appreciate the deep value of creating more housing in Sacramento’s urban core, so this story from the Sacramento Bee, reporting on just that, is very good news.

An excerpt.

Big yellow and orange earth movers graded dirt this week to prepare for the first phase of 825 new homes about a mile from downtown Sacramento in an industrial area near the venerable Land Park neighborhood. Nearby, at a ceremonial groundbreaking, City Councilman Steve Hansen called the start of construction on the Northwest Land Park development a “seminal moment” in Sacramento’s rebuilding of its residential urban core.

During the mid-2000s real estate boom, Sacramento’s growth occurred mostly on the suburban fringe, with developers churning out thousands of houses in new subdivisions. Despite much talk about “infill” development, and several proposals for high-rises downtown, the actual growth of housing units in existing city neighborhoods was incremental and came in small batches. The high-rises fizzled in the housing crash, and plans for such major sites as the downtown railyard went dormant.

Today, however, Sacramento’s central core and its surrounding established neighborhoods are poised to add hundreds of housing units on sizable pieces of land in the next few years. Northwest Land Park is the latest to get underway. Its developers aim to attract young professionals and downsizing baby boomers with smaller, energy-efficient homes, which will be built on land long occupied by a wood products plant.

In east Sacramento, the Sacramento City Council recently approved the McKinley Village development, envisioned with more than 300 homes, on a crescent of land along the Capital City Freeway that has frustrated developers for decades. And after $30 million in toxic cleanup and a decade of wrangling with neighbors, developer Paul Petrovich is selling home lots to builders in his Curtis Park Village project, which will include nearly 500 housing units.

Builders and developers say they think they can tap into pent-up demand for urban living at sales prices high enough to make their investments worthwhile, despite infill’s greater costs and challenges. Most of the projects started before last decade’s housing crash, then went dark in the downturn. But they have come out of hibernation at a time builders say couldn’t be better.

Retrieved May 18, 2014 from

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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