City of Sacramento Hiring Full-Time Employees to Help with Development Boom

SACRAMENTO -- The streets of nearly every district of Sacramento are marked by cranes, steel beams and construction crews. They’ve largely become a part of the backdrop of the city.

Development in Sacramento has far outpaced the city’s expectations. As developers continue to go through the processes to build, the city is now hiring two dozen additional workers to facilitate that process more smoothly and quickly.

Developers like Nikky Mohanna are taking full advantage of the building boom.

"It's really been a huge shift from what Sacramento was used to, which was a lot of suburban development," she said.

She says development's now hottest in the city. And the numbers back her up. Sacramento's gone from $390 million worth of development in 2014 to $1.3 billion this fiscal year. City officials expect that number to hit $1.7 billion in 2019.

Mohanna says it’s what attracted her to come back to her hometown from London and build here, with her family's company.

"This is the example of how you really can build in a short time frame. Doing this in one year, just 12 months from conceptual sketches to construction is unparalleled,” said Mohanna, standing near a skeleton of what will become an 11-story living space on the corner of 19th and J streets in midtown Sacramento.

The project is expected to be complete by the end of 2018.

Not every developer experiences the same expedited building process that Mohanna went through. City officials admit the process is often too slow.

"We totally acknowledge that. We're a bureaucracy. But what we've been trying to do is speed up that bureaucracy,” said Sacramento City Councilman Jay Schenirer.

Tuesday afternoon, City Council approved a plan to hire 24 brand new, full-time employees -- everything from engineers to technicians, to building inspectors --all with the hope they can make the building process easier and faster for developers.

You're going to continue to see a renaissance downtown, you're going to continue to see housing built. We're becoming one of the hotter places to live,” said Schenirer.

"I hear from developers a lot that they submit their plans and they cannot get them back in a timely fashion to be able to move forward,” said Councilwoman Angelique Ashby. “There's a lot happening in Sacramento which is really great. But we need to be able to keep pace."

For Mohanna and other developers, the city's decision to hire new workers to ease development red tape sends a strong signal that they have partner, rather than a barrier, in city hall.

"To add to the momentum we've seen and enable a lot more projects like this to happen in short time frames, that's what's going to enable us to overcome the crisis,” said Mohanna.

The total cost for the additional workers will total $3.6 million annually after this year, according to estimates from the city.