At 88 years old, the Sacramento Valley Station at 4th and I streets is bound for new glory, as the second phase of the $34-million rejuvenation project gets underway at the city’s downtown transportation hub.
When complete in fall of 2016, the restored 68,000 square foot building, purchased by the city in 2006 from Union Pacific Railroad, will house Amtrak offices, retail space, leasable office space, and perhaps a restaurant with a rooftop patio. Historical elements, such as the MacQuarrie mural depicting the Transcontinental Railroad’s 1863 groundbreaking in Sacramento, are being enhanced, the electrical and mechanical systems updated and the building’s structural integrity secured.
Gateway to the 240-acre Railyards project, and a soon-to-be neighbor to the new Kings arena (which should debut around the same time), Sacramento Valley Station is the seventh-busiest railway station in the country, serving 1.2 million passengers annually. It is a base for the Capitol Corridor, the San Joaquin, and Amtrak’s overland trains. The station will continue to serve as a light-rail station — with a future airport link — and may possibly be joined by a streetcar line to West Sacramento and long-distance high-speed rail.
Speaking at a ceremony at the station in September, Rep. Doris Matsui said the restoration and improvements will “transform the depot back to a true center of transportation, one that greets residents and visitors alike with activity, opportunity and a uniquely Sacramento sense of place.”
The station was designed by Bliss & Faville, who also designed several San Francisco landmarks, including the Geary Theater and the St. Francis Hotel. The station is listed to the National Register of Historic Places, as well as California and Sacramento registers. The restoration project has received $15 million in federal funding and $15 million in matching funds from Sacramento’s Measure A Sales Tax.
Previous work included relocating freight and passenger tracks 500 feet north of the station and construction of a new pedestrian tunnel.
Some highlights of the restoration:
- Upgraded ticketing machines, and architectural lighting enhanced for the south facade and major public spaces.
- Storage capacity for up to 100 bikes, as well as bicycle rental
- Up to 25,000 square feet of commercial space to be leased.
- Third floor roof access, which may be used as a patio for a restaurant or bar.
- Amtrak offices may eventually be relocated to an adjacent building, freeing up more square footage for office, retail or restaurant space.
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