PHOENIX - With construction on its new basketball arena humming along, California's capital is turning its attention to an extensive downtown revitalization project that aims to leverage property taxes to create 10,000 places to live in downtown Sacramento by 2025.
The city announced last month that work on the new Golden 1 Center, the $500 million-plus facility partially bond-financed arena, is moving along with installation of plumbing, electricity, roofing, and other work in anticipation of its opening in October next year. The facility, which will be home to the National Basketball Association's Sacramento Kings, will be the center of what mayor Kevin Johnson and other city leaders hope will be a completely revitalized downtown area.
Another key cog in that plan is the city's and Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency's Downtown Housing Initiative.
"This initiative seeks to increase population density to a level that can sustain and attract additional investments such as hotel, grocery and retail establishments," plan documents posted to the Sacramento website say. "It will also provide mixed income and multi-modal friendly residences to meet a diverse range of housing needs. This strategy has the added benefits of stabilizing the tax base, attracting and retaining young professionals, families and retirees while providing the economic foundation to support fast-paced growth projects."
One of the plan's policy recommendations is to create Enhanced Infrastructure Finance Districts, or EIFDs. Senate Bill 628, which became law in September 2014, provided local governments the ability to finance a broad range of infrastructure work as well as affordable housing and transit oriented development projects through tax increment, generated from the growth in property taxes collected from the affected area. EIFDs are also eligible to combine tax increment funding with bond issuance.
In the short term, the city will be looking to formulate more concrete strategies, begin to pursue funding sources, and create a downtown parking strategy. In the longer four- to 10-year stretch, the city hopes to be able to focus on reopening schools and funding applicable spaces for the development of open space and dog parks.
"The key to this transformation is housing," Johnson and SHRA executive director La Shelle Dozier said in a joint letter submitted with the plan. "This plan will help us realize the full potential of Downtown by laying out the policies, processes, resources and incentives to make the development process as transparent and predictable as possible, while at the same time investing in the amenities and initiatives necessary to become the modern, inclusive, interconnected city of the 21st century."