Sacramento's Vice Mayor Steve Hansen is proposing a redesign of Capitol Mall – one of downtown's most well-known public spaces. It's still in the early stages, but Hansen says he wants to make Capitol Mall more functional. His plan would revamp a segment of the mall from Third to Ninth streets. The Sacramento Business Journal's Digital Editor Sonya Sorich says the goal is to create more green space, improve traffic flow and provide safer conditions for pedestrians and cyclists.
"This would be done by removing most of the center medians and reducing the four lanes to two for cars as well as additional lanes for bikes," says Sorich. "Stretches of green space would be on either side of the road with trees."
There's no cost estimate for the project yet. But a stakeholder group will likely get construction funding from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments. Construction could start in 2020. Over the years, there have been several failed efforts to revamp Capitol Mall.
Health insurance giant Centene is another step closer to setting up a regional headquarters in North Natomas. The project's been in the works for a while. And now a developer has submitted a formal application. Sorich says four months ago, the Sacramento City Council approved a $13.5 million incentive package for Centene.
"When that incentive package was approved in November, we learned that the headquarters could possibly bring about 5,000 new jobs to the area," says Sorich. "At the time, it still wasn't a done deal. The St. Louis-based company's board still had to accept the package. But it does appear as if it's moving forward."
The proposed headquarters would be on East Commerce Way. According to the application, it would include five multistory buildings, and amenities such as a child care center and outdoor courtyard.
Two well-known luxury brands are joining a retail center in Folsom. Michael Kors and Kate Spade are planning locations in the Folsom Premium Outlets. Both are known for their women's clothing, shoes and accessories. Analysts say outlet malls have been bright spots in an uncertain retail climate. But Sorich says outlet malls also face challenges.
"When big national retailers close their stores, they generally close their outlet locations as well," says Sorich. "That's true for Toys R Us, which has a store in the Folsom outlets. Still, the outlets seem to be getting a fair amount of interest in Folsom, and not just from luxury stores. The locally owned Brainy Zoo Toys recently moved from Nimbus Winery Village to the Folsom outlets."
The Michael Kors store is expected to open in May. There's no scheduled opening yet for the Kate Spade store.
A new rock climbing gym is opening tomorrow in Sacramento off Power Inn Road. Sorich says it's called The Boulder Field.
"Its owner is actually a professional rock climber who came to this area specifically to open this facility," says Sorich. "This facility focuses on bouldering, which doesn't require the harness used in other forms of rock climbing."
The gym also includes: cardio machines, weights and a yoga studio. Retail watchers say it's another sign that the Power Inn area is attracting more than just industrial and manufacturing businesses.