CalPERS Wants to Construct Sacramento’s Tallest Skyscraper

SACRAMENTO -- A long forgotten block in downtown Sacramento could soon become the site of the city’s tallest skyscraper.

This week CalPERS released renderings for the building it would like to construct on a long, vacant piece of property it owns at Capitol and 3rd Street.

"It’s been ugly, it’s been ugly. So it’s going to be nice now. It’s going to be eye candy at this point," said Bryan Martin, the owner of Buzz Coffee Shop.

Martin is talking about a city block of Sacramento's Capitol Mall that over the past decade has gained the nickname Sacramento's "hole in the ground."

But Sunday, CalPERS and its partner developer announced plans to build what could become Sacramento's tallest skyscraper.

"Pretty much since the arena broke ground, the investment in downtown has been off the charts and it just seems to continue to grow," said Valerie Mamone, the senior business development manager for the Downtown Sacramento Partnership. "Our price per square footage keeps going up and new investors keep coming into the market."

(Credit: CalPERS)

Mamone believes the new building would help downtown Sacramento's economy.

"We couldn’t be more thrilled and we’re very encouraged by CalPERS having some money out on the table as well," Mamone said.

However, the tower still is not a done deal. CalPERS declined an on-camera interview but said while it’s ready to put up to $550 million of its own money to build the 550-foot tall tower, it still needs a tenant to commit to the property before it breaks ground.

The plans have been shown to city leaders, like District 4 City Council member Steven Hansen, who doesn’t believe CalPERS and the developer will have any trouble attracting tenants.

The designs have room for 100 apartments and more than 700,000 feet of office space, as well as room for retail space and an elevated public park.

The site has been vacant since 2007, when CalPERS pulled out of a similar plan that would have been twin 53-story condominium towers. But the recession quashed those plans.

"I think it was the wrong time but I don’t think it was the wrong project," Mamone said.

Meanwhile, Martin believes projects like this will help drum up business for all of Sacramento.

"It’s growing and it’s creating new foot traffic for me and the business owners, so absolutely," he said.

If built, the tower would be more than 100 feet taller than the Wells Fargo Center, which is currently the tallest building downtown.