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WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — One of the most unique buildings in the Sacramento region gets a lot of attention due to its pyramid shape and location next to the Sacramento River. 

The West Sacramento landmark, officially known as the Ziggurat, is located on Third Street and is visible while driving on the Tower Bridge or taking a walk near the Old Sacramento Waterfront. The building, which sits adjacent to the Tower Bridge, across Old Sacramento, can be illuminated at night. 

But what is the building’s purpose? 

The Ziggurat is a 10-story office building in a stepped pyramidal shape that serves as the headquarters for the California Department of General Services, which is a state government agency in the executive branch of the California government. 

The building is 373,725 square feet and has been leased to the DGS since 2001.

Along with offices inside, there’s an adjacent five-story concrete parking structure for 1,649 vehicles and accommodations for secured bicycle parking. 

Who designed the Ziggurat? 

Sacramento-based architect Ed Kado is the designer and it was constructed by the mortgage lending company The Money Store in 1997, according to the U.S. Library of Congress. 

Kado moved to Sacramento with his mother in 1945.

He and his mother moved in with his aunt and attended Lincoln Elementary, Cal Junior High, C.K. McClatchy High, Sacramento City College and the University of California, Berkeley.

Kado designed the Ziggurat to resemble the massive ziggurats in ancient Mesopotamia, which were structures that had multiple levels.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, The Great Ziggurat was built as a place of worship and dedicated to the moon god Nanna in the Sumerian city of Ur in ancient Mesopotamia. 

The DOD said the ziggurat is still well preserved in large parts and is the only major remainder of Ur in present-day Southern Iraq. 

“I originally designed a building that cantilevered toward the river, so it was like a pyramid upside down. It was 12 stories, and so when you got to the top floor, it was 120 feet toward the river,” Kado told the Sacramento Business Journal in 1998. “When I presented it to the president of The Money Store, he thought it was interesting, but he wanted a symmetrical building.”

“I (then) suggested this shape…because that shape connotes stability, and I thought it would be a good image for The Money Store,” Kado continued. 

The Ziggurat sold to new ownership in 2021

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ziggurat went on sale in 2019 for the first time in more than two decades, according to the Sacramento Business Journal. It was listed without a price. 

The building was put on the open market by Chicago-based commercial company Cushman & Wakefield, the Journal reported.

Two years later, the building sold for $90 million to Nome Capital Partners, a company based in Milpitas, in Santa Clara County, according to a report from the publication in July 2021. 

DGS currently still holds its headquarters in the building, but the agency eventually plans to move to a refurbished state-owned building in downtown Sacramento. 

The Ziggurat originally sold for $86 million in 1998.