The Folsom Lake College Visual and Performing Arts Center by LPAS.

(Photo courtesy of LPAS)

Storm Shelter

Architects and engineers find ways to build around a rough market

The design-build industry has been absolutely battered by the spoiled economy. Architecture and design firms lament layoffs, nonexistent financing and an utter lack of optimism for 2010. Yet a number of large regional projects are keeping local firms afloat and offering a silver, albeit temporary, lining.

Dec 1, 2009 Christine Calvin

From Gritty to Groovy

Planners and developers plow ahead on K street

City planners and private developers in Sacramento envision a downtown shopping and entertainment hub pulsing with revenue and pedestrians. The mind’s eye replaces vagrants with decorative park benches and rundown storefronts with shiny new facades. And rather than dispersing at sundown, restaurant patrons and theatergoers would linger into the wee hours.

Nov 1, 2009 Christine Calvin
The El Dorado Hills Town Center mostly houses small independent merchants and a handful of national chains.

Plea Market

Retail along Highway 50 looks to fill some gaps

No part of the region has been immune to the retail woes that come with a lagging economy, but the Highway 50 corridor — Rancho Cordova, Folsom and El Dorado Hills — entered the slowdown crippled by its own geography.

Nov 1, 2009 Bill Romanelli
From May 2008 to May 2009 the price of lumber and plywood fell 13.8 percent nationwide, and suppliers such as Pacific Coast Building Products' Anderson Lumber are grappling with the aftermath.

Material Witness

Construction costs' momentary lapse of reason

The cost of lumber, steel, asphalt and other construction materials has been on a wild ride since the early part of this decade, but don’t be fooled by the relatively placid prices in 2009. Industry players say it’s likely just a brief respite before the roller coaster starts climbing again.

Aug 1, 2009 Adam Weintraub
Christi Black, managing director, Ogilvy Public Relations found new digs at 1414 K St.

The Tenets of Leasing

The pros and cons of relocating in today's market

The smart landlords are doing whatever it takes to keep old tenants and lure new ones. That includes free rent, bigger allowances for tenant improvements, free signs and plain old cash. “If there is less than two years remaining on the lease, a savvy landlord really should be talking to them about extending,” Frisch says. “Oftentimes landlords and property managers don’t start that conversation until it is much later in the lease term.” But if a tenant is in good enough financial shape to keep paying the rent, very few landlords will renegotiate a deal with more than two years left, Frisch says.

Aug 1, 2009 Robert Celaschi

Speedy Delivery

The promise of high-speed rail

The potential benefits of high-speed rail are huge. Transportation planners say a bullet train would meet or exceed the demand for transportation from our growing population between now and 2030 — at less than half the cost of building the five airport runways, 90 departure gates and 3,000 miles of new freeways that would otherwise be required. Building the system will provide 160,000 construction jobs and 450,000 permanent jobs in related industries, providing a much-needed boost to the economy.

May 1, 2009 Winnie Comstock-Carlson
Marc Ross, a senior associate with CB Richard Ellis in Sacramento, specializes in investment and multifamily property.

Apartment Complex

Multifamily buyers build up cash and wait for bargains

The credit crunch and other broad changes in economic conditions cut a wide swath through the ranks of potential buyers. Those who are left are biding their time, lining up cash and waiting for a sweet deal, probably a distressed property at a bargain price. But far fewer multifamily properties are facing the default notices that helped drive down prices for single-family homes, and many landlords are trying to ride out the storm. The result is very few deals.

May 1, 2009 Adam Weintraub
Unveiled last October, the $350,000 Centennial Walk connects the Memorial Union with Shields Library. 

(Photo courtesy of UC Davis)

Campus Construction

Projects keep the campus investing in its future

Before UC Davis played a huge role in bringing science and agriculture together and changing the course of history for California and the world, the importance of collaboration across disciplines was well recognized. That vision is perhaps nowhere better exemplified than at the campus Quad — the true heart of the campus since its founding — where the new Centennial Walk was unveiled last October.

May 1, 2009 Bill Romanelli
Benicia paid consultants $40,000 to help with a branding strategy; among the recommendations were revitalizing and bringing people to the downtown waterfront, shown here.

Secret Destination

Solano hopes to attract travel spending by uncovering its image

If Napa County is wine country and Calaveras County is frog-jumping territory, where does that leave a place like Solano? Trying to catch up, perhaps.Thirty years ago Napa County was where Solano is today, says Solano County Supervisor Mike Reagan. In 1992, Napa brought in $361 million in tourism revenue, and with $319 million, Solano wasn’t far behind. Fast-forward to 2006: Napa brought in almost $890 million, but Solano’s revenue only rose to $554 million.

May 1, 2009 Sukhjit Purewal
Trudy Nearn, principal, Generations law firm.

Estating the Obvious

A little planning goes a long way

Asset values are down, interest rates are down, and industry experts doubt the Obama administration will allow the current estate tax exemption to expire in 2010. That combination makes a ripe environment for creating or adjusting an estate plan, and financial advisers say acting now could save thousands — if not millions — of dollars later.

Aug 1, 2008 Christine Calvin