more housing, less parking, part 2 central city SE

This is the second of the four quadrants of Sacramento central city, bounded by Capitol Ave on the north, Broadway on the south, 16th Street on the west, and Alhambra Blvd on the east.

Please see my previous post, more housing, less parking, for background information, and the southwest quadrant.

The graphic is below, but more useful will be the ArcGIS Online WebApp Sacramento parking & empty. Red is surface parking, orange is empty parcels.

The slideshow below shows many of the surface parking lots in this quadrant of the central city. It may include photos of parcels that contain a building but also have excess parking.

The next slideshow shows many of the empty lots in this quadrant of the central city.

It turns out that compiling the data, including parcels and photos, it quite time consuming, so the other two quadrants of the central city will be a while in coming, but I’ll be adding several posts about what I’ve learned, and the opportunities.

more housing, less parking

I have been gradually compiling data on two types of properties that could be developed into housing, or mixed use, removing unproductive uses such as surface parking and empty lots. The data at the moment is just the southwest portion of the Sacramento central city, bounded by Capitol Mall/Ave on the north, Broadway on the south, Sacramento River on the west, and 16th Street on the east.

I am not claiming high accuracy. The polygons are parcels from the Sacramento County parcel layer, selected using ArcGIS Imagery basemap, with consultations to Google Maps and Google Earth (the historical imagery allows selection of views without leaves on the trees, making it much easier to see what is on a parcel). I am sure I have missed some parcels, and included some that should not be. Nevertheless, I think the pattern is worth thinking about. Parcels that contain significant parking but also contain a building are not included, though obviously when counting parking, it is important. And, the map does not include street parking or structured parking. If those were included, the map would be a mass of red. There is a remarkable amount of structured parking (often called parking decks), both freestanding, and layered into other buildings.

I have not distinguished who owns these parcels. Probably about half the parking is owned by the state, and the rest by private parking companies. Of the empty parcels, it is less clear, but there is a mix of public (state and city) and private. It would take a great deal of time to determine ownership in order to code these differently. Maybe in the future, but I’m not sure this is a significant issue.

The graphic is below, but more useful will be the ArcGIS Online WebApp Sacramento parking & empty. This is my first experiment with presenting information through a WebApp map, but I realized that people would otherwise be ruining their eyes trying to parse out the polygons of surface parking and empty lots in the static map. Red is surface parking, orange is empty parcels.

So, why the data compilation. There are a significant number of empty parcels in the central city, all of which could be housing instead of empty. And every surface parking lot could be and should be developed into a more productive use. By productive, I mean something of direct use to humans instead of cars, and more productive of sales tax and property tax. Our property tax system values empty lots and parking lots are virtually zero, meaning they contribute little to our tax base needed to provide services. I’ll say more about this shortly.

The slideshow below shows many of the surface parking lots in the southwest quadrant of the central city. It may include photos of parcels that contain a building but also have excess parking.

The next slideshow shows many of the empty lots in the southwest quadrant of the central city.

1500 S St infill

The house at 1500 S Street, and commercial building at 1506/1508 S Street, have been razed in preparation for a new development.

1500/1506/1508 S St, Sacramento

I am curious about redevelopment/infill projects in the central city because they have the potential to increase housing, allowing more people to live in the central city, improving economic vibrancy for businesses and property/sales tax for the government. At the same time, I know that perfectly viable Victorian houses have been torn down for redevelopment, so I’m not always in favor of these projects.

The house at 1500 S Street had been unoccupied for years. Same with the commercial building at 1506/1508 S Street. Houses on three adjacent lots were razed sometime between July 2015 and February 2018. As much detail as I was able to gather from Zillow and Google Earth historical imagery is below. I think it is interesting that the houses had survived for 95 years, 103 years, 101 years, and 108 years, whereas the commercial building lasted at most 36 years. So many commercial building are disposable, often not built to last, and not worth modifying or reconstructing. The house on the corner, 1500 S Street, looked to be in poor condition. I don’t know about the other three houses.

  • 1500 S St, house 926 sf, lot 3200 sf, 1926, gone 02/2021
  • 1506/1508 S St, building, built after 12/1985, gone 02/2021
  • 1512 S St, 3,129 sf, lot 6400 sf, 1915, present 7/2015, gone 5/2018
  • 1516 S St, 1,177 sf, lot 6400 sf, 1915, present 7/2015, gone 7/2016
  • 1522 S St, 876 sf, lot 6400 sf, 1910, present 7/2015, gone 2/2018

The combined lots sold for $5,125,000 in 2019.

The information I was able to find about plans for the location are: Anthem Acquires an Infill Project in Sacramento, Anthem Properties submits plan for site near R Street Corridor (2020-04-27, firewalled), and Downtown Sacramento Partnership 1500 S, all indicating a mixed use building of eight stories.

1500 S Street, from SacBiz

downtown/midtown infill projects

Two articles from yesterday, CADA gets go-ahead for more housing (SacBee 2015-05-04) and Small is beautiful: Mini-developments popping up in Sacramento’s central city (Sacramento Business Journal 2015-05-04) talked about several locations where infill development has or will occur. The SacBee mentions Warehouse Artist Lofts, Legado de Ravel, 16 Powerhouse and Eviva Midtown. WAL and Legado de Ravel are complete though not all retail spaces are yet occupied. 16 Powerhouse is nearly complete, and Eviva is just getting going again, with foundation work underway. Also mentioned are Enterprise Rent-A-Car at the corner of 16th and N streets; the entire block bounded by 12th, 13th, N and O streets (this is incorrect, the block is actually 12th/13th/O/P, which is largely a parking lot but contains several older apartment buildings); and the southwest corner of 14th and N (a parking lot). The Sacramento Business Journal mentions Capitol Avenue near 18th Street (1809 Capitol Ave, where constructing is going on right now), an empty lot at 1523 E St, the southeast corner of 17th and Q Streets (a parking lot), 2215 Q St, and four single-unit townhomes on four lots at 2117 20th St (I think this may be an incorrect number on 20th, as there are some new townhouse that are part of the Tapestri Square area).

I was curious to look at these locations, some of which I’d not noticed before, so visited and took photos of each, presented in the slideshow below.

Let me say that I’m opposed to demolishing still usable buildings in order to build new developments. Not because we don’t need new large developments, but because there are plenty of other properties where they can take place. This would apply to the 12th/13th/O/P locations, on which sit several apartment buildings.

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of properties throughout downtown/midtown which could be redeveloped. They are empty, or parking lots, or occupied by abandoned buildings which cannot reasonably be reconstructed, or buildings which have been vacant for number of years.

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