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.
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.
A drive past a neglected home in Natomas or a shuttered Mervyn’s in Roseville is more than a sign of the strained Capital Region economy. It is also an expensive risk that can hit property owners at the knees.
If there was a soundtrack to banking this summer, it sounded something like the theme from “Jaws” — tense, ominous and hinting at unknown dangers below the surface.
The new-home market in Solano County soared even higher than that of California as a whole, and it fell harder too.
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.
Liz Lum knew her 79-year-old mother, Anne Fong, wanted to live independently as long as possible, but Lum also knew that her mother’s Greenhaven house would need some modifications.
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.
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.
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.