In The News

California offers three Capitol Mall office buildings for conversion to housing

Sacramento, CA (Jan. 31, 2023) - Gov. Gavin Newsom Tuesday announced that three large state office buildings along the Capitol Mall will be offered to developers for conversion to housing.

The Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and the Department of General Services issued a “Request for Qualifications” seeking developers interested in redeveloping the EDD Building at 800 Capitol Mall, the adjoining EDD Solar Building at 751 N St. and the State Personnel Board building at 801 Capitol Mall. The state’s contribution would be a long-term land lease.

 The administration said it would prefer to see the buildings be modified and rehabbed for adaptive reuse but was also open to proposals that would involve demolishing the structures if such a proposal better fulfilled the goals of  Governor Newsom’s 2019 Excess State Land Executive Order (N-06-19) [], whose guiding principles include affordability, construction cost efficiency, innovation, sustainability, and racial equity. The properties could be developed together or separately.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg joined Assemblymember Kevin McCarty and Councilmember Katie Valenzuela in front of the EDD building Tuesday afternoon to react to the announcement. The mayor’s office has been working with the state for a year to prepare for the buildings being offered for development. The City of Sacramento has applied for an estimated $23 million grant to assist with the development and improve biking and pedestrian access to the Capitol Mall.

"The size and location of these three Capitol Mall buildings give us the opportunity to create a transit-friendly village with 1,000 new housing units – a project that will speed the evolution of our downtown away from reliance on office workers," Mayor Steinberg said. "We will work with the state, our development partners, and the community around Capitol Mall to create something that truly enhances our city's front door."

The Downtown Sacramento Partnership, whose membership includes property owners on the Capitol Mall, supports the evolution away from an office-centric downtown.

“As urban centers across the country continue to adapt toward increased hybrid work models, the conversion of underutilized office buildings on Capitol Mall into mixed-income residences will add population density to the Central City and enhance the relationship between housing, employment, and social connectivity centers,” said DSP Executive Director Michael Ault.

The three buildings are scheduled to be vacated in 2025 when the EDD and State Personnel Board move to new buildings nearby.

 Under Mayor Steinberg’s leadership, the city has made a major push to reinvent itself by building thousands of badly needed housing units. Sacramento was the first city in the state to win the coveted “Pro-Housing” designation.

“In California, we are taking every opportunity and using every tool available to build more housing, faster – including reviewing our own portfolio of excess land to transform state property into housing,” said Gov. Newsom. “Our excess land strategy is part of a multipronged approach to tackle the housing crisis in California, which includes greater accountability, streamlining the building process and providing incentives along with unprecedented resources to communities willing to step-up and meet their housing commitments.”

 Assemblymember McCarty Tuesday noted that building more housing would restore downtown as the residential center it once was before redevelopment and state office building construction resulted in the demolition of much of the once heavily populated West End neighborhood.

“This is exciting news for the downtown area,” said Assemblymember McCarty. “Transitioning the EDD buildings into housing will help residents find an affordable place to live and repopulate the area. This is just the beginning. I look forward to seeing more buildings turn into housing and help downtown Sacramento once again become a vibrant hub.”

Newly elected state Sen. Angelique Ashby, who previously served on the Sacramento City Council, said she looked forward to working on the transformation of Capitol Mall.

“I want to thank Governor Newsom for working with my predecessors, Senator Dr. Richard Pan and previous Senate President pro-Tem Mayor Steinberg, who have both made this transformative project a reality,” said Senator Ashby (D-Sacramento.) “This is an innovative approach that will revitalize our downtown corridor.”


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