Home Front

A blog about the economy and the Sacramento-area real estate market.

August 7, 2009
Paul Petrovich: "I'm a developer. That doesn't mean I'm evil."
Sacramento developer Paul Petrovich went on the road Thursday evening to the Oak Park Neighborhood Association, presenting his development concept for Curtis Park Village a couple miles to the west of Oak Park near Sacramento City College. It was generally a pretty friendly crowd to his plans for 500 homes and 156,000 square feet of retail at the abandoned Western Pacific Railyards site he owns.
In the Home Front video below, Petrovich talks up a design feature he's considering at the site involving an old locomotive, the promises a project that will be popular with neighborhoods to the south of downtown Sacramento.

"I'll blow people away with this," he says.

Petrovich was pretty blunt about his expectations of being sued by the Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association over his plans for a $211 million project. He trotted out all the benefits that developers do when proposing these projects: 1,600 construction jobs, 500 permanent jobs at the site and $2.5 million in annual property taxes on a site that now pays
about $10,000 a year. He also estimate that sales taxes will reach about $900,000 a year for the city's treasury.

He said he wants to do an athletic club at the site, or a bowling alley. And noted that that's upsetting some of the neighbors who are worried about traffic.
"There are people in the neighborhood who are going to sue. I'm convinced of that," he told the Oak Park residents. He also warned again that the project is costing him $4,000 a day and that if sued, he'll go straight to city hall and apply for permits to build indutrial space or possibly a lumber yard surrounded by industrial buildings - all allowed without a city council vote under the site's current zoning.

(Leaders of the Curtis Park neighborhood association have said they don't necessarily plan to sue, but aren't going to be "ramrodded" into accepting a plan they believe is too suburban in character for the historic older neighborhoods that surround it).

One in the audience asked Petrovich why he wasn't doing "mixed use," that is, putting homes above stores. His answer: "I did that at Safeway (R Street in Midtown Sacramento). "I lost my butt on it." He said he couldn't get the rents he expected  to make it work.

Petrovich also got challenged pretty hard about the likelihood of adding more traffic to Sutterville Road.
But he wrapped up at the end, saying, "I'm a developer. That doesn't mean I'm evil."

Then he asked people in the audience to email their support or call their local city council member, Lauren Hammond. The whole big project is expected now to go to the Sacramento Planning Commission in September with a city council vote expected weeks later.

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