Western City Skylines, Sacramento Included, Profiled

This is a great article from the Washington Post about the raising of the skylines in many cities, including Sacramento, with great graphics.

An excerpt.

At the entrance to Sacramento, a largely low-rise government town that is among California’s oldest cities, is an empty lot that for more than a decade has been known derisively as “the hole in the ground.”

Before the 2008 recession, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or CalPERS, planned to build two, 53-story luxury condominium towers on the site, which city officials call “the front door” to the palm-lined Capitol Mall and the two-year-old Golden 1 Center, home of the Sacramento Kings NBA franchise.

The early advertising for The Towers on Capitol Mall showed an artist’s rendering of the buildings looming above the city, the Sacramento River just beneath its windows. Against a gold background, the marketing slogan read: “Where Donald Would Live.”

The faltering economy wiped out those Trump-scale plans. Now CalPERS has proposed a 30-story tower for the site at a cost of $550 million. The building, comprising apartments, shops and offices, would edge out the Wells Fargo Center as the city’s tallest at a time when an arriving exodus from the Bay Area is driving up housing costs and providing opportunities to diversify a mostly public-sector economy.

“This is a city in the midst of real transformation,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg (D), who has been in office a little more than two years after a long career in the state legislature. “There is an intangible specialness about this place. But we’re changing as a necessity because a government base is no longer enough to provide opportunity for all our people.”

From Steinberg’s fifth-floor office window, the Sacramento skyline appears mostly flat, nothing but a church steeple or two rising higher than his view. Just out of sight is the State Capitol dome, a landmark that the new projects could obstruct from some vantages.

But the office space that will come with projects such as the CalPERS tower will help speed along Steinberg’s hoped-for economic transformation.

Sacramento has a homeless problem — tents and sleeping bags circle the courtyard at the entrance to city hall — and Steinberg said the development must be in service to the larger goals of increasing housing stock and preventing the kind of neighborhood displacement happening in many other California cities.

“The ‘G’ word is not allowed in this office,” Steinberg said, referring to gentrification. “I want the city to have all of the great things that cosmopolitan cities have. But if that’s all we do, we’ll only be good. To be great, we have to be intentional about tying that prosperity and that growth to our neighborhoods, especially our disadvantaged neighborhoods, and housing affordability is a key element.”

Retrieved February 12, 2019 from https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/national/western-cities-changing-skylines/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.2388b5ec0cff

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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