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Development Plan For Railyards Still Unclear as City Continues Infrastructure

The 5th and 6th Street bridges are complete, though the streets do not extend far enough to reach them. The plan for what retail and housing will surround them has not been finalized.


Railroad tracks have been moved. Two bridges have been built with plans for connection to 5th and 6th streets.   

But, within walking distance of that progress are 200 acres of land in various stages of environmental cleanup. 

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control has approved three of five remediation action plans for long-time owner Union Pacific to clean up the land, which is now owned by Inland American Real Estate Trust.  Inland American is in negotiation to sell the land to a master developer.

The company’s Jared Ficker says, “One of the impediments to doing that is providing the certainty that the historic or legacy contamination is going to be taken care of by the responsible party –in this case, Union Pacific.” 

Inland American hopes to be able to sell the property by the end of the year. 

The land’s previous owner Thomas Enterprises envisioned building as many as 12,000 residential units, but the company went bankrupt and lost the property. 

Fran Halbakken with the City of Sacramento says the city will use state funds to begin construction of eleven hundred low-income and market-rate housing units this year, but there is a lot of uncertainty.  

“Until we get a master developer, we’re not going to know how that retail’s going to play out," says Halbakken.  "Thomas had one vision and it was that developer’s vision. So whatever the new master developer comes in with obviously they’re going to have their own vision.  I think that vision’s going to change there too because of the arena and what’s going to happen around it.”

Meanwhile, the city moves ahead with a renovation of the downtown train station and will ask the City Council to fund an extension of C Street. 

Halbakken says it could be more than a decade before we see how any developer’s plan for the area will take advantage of the infrastructure.

Bob Moffitt

Sacramento Region Reporter

Bob reports on all things northern California and Nevada. His coverage of police technology, local athletes, and the environment has won a regional Associated Press and several Edward R. Murrow awards.   Read Full Bio 

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