Railyards aerial

SACRAMENTO-The City of Sacramento and the 244-acre Railyards have been awarded $17.9 million in voter-approved Proposition 1B Bond funds from the California Transportation Commission. The CTC’s award brings total bond funding for the multi-billion dollar project to $65 million.

One of the largest urban infill opportunities in the nation, the redevelopment is slated to transform Union Pacific’s Downtown railyards–the birthplace of the transcontinental railroad–into a mixed-use urban village with 10,000 housing units along with office, hotel, retail and entertainment properties. The project is expected to create 19,000 permanent jobs, 2,800 hundred annual construction jobs and result in an ongoing annual positive economic impact of $2.7 billion. Private investment in the project is slated to top $6 billion.

Amenities are expected to include an intermodal transportation terminal, a public market in the renovated historic Central Shop buildings, and a Railroad Technology Museum. The plan also includes an extension of 6th Street over the relocated railroad tracks to connect the development with the existing downtown core and the areas north, as well as a pedestrian tunnel at 7th Street.

The CTC money, through Proposition IB’s Highway Railroad Crossing Safety Account Program, will be used for the 6th Street extension and the pedestrian tunnel. The work for that portion of the project is expected to get underway next year. The award follows the recent approval of $47 million in July from the California Department of Housing and Community Development Proposition 1C grant program to create infrastructure and affordable housing near transit.

“Both of these grants mean we can continue to move this important project forward, build roads and infrastructure, and open The Railyards to the public within the next few years,” says Suheil Totah, vice president of development for Thomas Enterprises, the Atlanta-based master developer. The Thomas Enterprises entity directing the project is Millennia Sacramento III LLC.

A major redevelopment is also in the works in the suburbs, just east of Rancho Cordova. In July, the Sacramento County Planning Commission recommended approval of a 1,400-acre development by publicly-traded aerospace company GenCorp Inc. known as Easton. The longer-term plan for Easton covers some 6,000 acres.

The development plan includes 4,883 units of residential in various densities and 4.2-million sf of other development, including 1.3 million sf of retail, restaurants and entertainment venues and 2.9 million sf of office space, theaters, fine arts venues, parks, hotels, museums and historic buildings. Amenities would include 480 acres of open space and parks and a network of biking and walking trails that link to the American River Parkway and the Hazel Light Rail station.

The project is located between Hazel Avenue and Prairie City Road south of Highway 50 in eastern Sacramento County. Sacramento County is preparing a final EIS for the County Board of Supervisors hearings later this year. The project also will need approvals from the US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service.

In addition to Glenborough at Easton and Easton Place, the 6,000-acre plan includes the Rio del Oro and Westborough developments located in the City of Rancho Cordova, and Hillsborough near Folsom, CA. According to SEC filings, the 6,000 acres for which GenCorp is currently seeking entitlements is about half of GenCorp’s overall land holdings in the area.

The land was acquired by Aerojet (now owned by GenCorp) in the early 1950s for Aerojet’s operations. Most of the Sacramento Land was used to provide safe buffer zones for Aerojet’s testing and manufacturing operations. Changes in technology and the relocation of some Aerojet operations freed the land for redevelopment.