Developers Work to Restore Former Crystal Ice Factory; Turn it into Usable Space

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FOX40 got an exclusive tour of the proposed Ice Blocks buildings in midtown Sacramento.

Developers are working together with the City of Sacramento to restore the former Crystal Ice factory, and turn it into about 500 residential units, commercial and office spaces.

"We have the housing, transit, and everything is right here, so this is the right spot for it, and this is the right project for it," principal architect, Steve Guest said.

The design team said said their ultimate goal is to authentically restore a piece of Sacramento's gritty industrial past.

Community groups Walk Sacramento and Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates sent a letter to the city in March, hoping developers would take in their considerations.

"Make sure the stairwells are in the exterior of the building, meaning they will be lit, have daylight in from the outside, which can encourage people to use it rather than to walk in a dark alley," Chris Holm, Project Coordinator of Walk Sacramento said.

Their focus was walkability, bikeability and overall pedestrian safety.
Developers listened, and incorporated their needs into the design.

"We're providing bicycle storage inside for tenants," Guest said. "Just by the mere fact that there will be lots of retail activity from early morning to late at night will make this neighborhood safer because there will be more eyes on the street."

The building is already listed in the California Register of Historical Resources. The goal is to preserve the historical essence while accommodating modern needs.

"If we do this successfully, the character of the space you're in will be the character of the space that we have," Guest said.

"If the project goes as planned, I think more people would be walking," Holm said.

Wednesday evening, the city's preservation commission will take a look at the design.
If all goes as planned, building permits should be issued by July, and the Ice Blocks will be open for business by 2016.

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