City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

December 30, 2011
With redevelopment money gone, effect on K Street mixed

As the dust settles over the state Supreme Court's ruling Thursday that redevelopment agencies can be eliminated, there's both good news and, well, uncertain news when it comes to K Street.

First, the good news. City development officials are confident that a large plan to revamp the 700 block of K Street will not face the threat of losing redevelopment funds.

In June, the City Council unanimously approved the development agreement and financing plan for the $47.7 million project. In doing so, the council allocated $14.7 million in redevelopment funds, an action that city downtown development manager Leslie Fritzsche said designated the money as "an enforceable obligation."

In other words, City Hall thinks that money is safe.

If all goes as planned, D&S Development and CFY Development will build housing, restaurants, boutiques and a live music venue along the 700 block, the stretch of K Street closest to the Westfield Downtown Plaza.

Things get slightly more complicated on the 800 block of K Street, where developer David Taylor has proposed housing and retail along another dilapidated block.

Taylor's plan counted on using $16 million in redevelopment funds owed to him as part of his purchase of the downtown Sheraton from the city. Fritzsche said the city is cautiously optimistic that the funding will still be available, given that it isn't simple redevelopment agency cash.

"Technically, there's a question of whether that is redevelopment money," she said. "The jury is still out."

Still, Fritzsche said city officials are concerned about the fate of the 800 block project "because we didn't get as far down the road as we would have liked."

And then there's the broader impact of redevelopment money disappearing. City officials have been beaming with confidence in recent months over the progress made along K Street and on nearby streets - and are worried that progress will halt without redevelopment subsidies.

Cars returned to K Street, an event that city officials have long thought would provide a jolt to the area. The Greyhound bus station moved from L Street to Richards Boulevard, north of downtown. New bars, restaurants and night clubs have opened downtown.

"We feel like we've got a bit of wind in our sails," Fritzsche said.

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About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

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