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Business Journal: Centene Campus Details, Bay Area Company Buys Old Sac Building, Arts Vitality On The Decline

Courtesy of Hines

A rendering of one of the buildings at what appears to be Centene Corp.'s proposed Sacramento campus.

Courtesy of Hines

Yoga And Spin Rooms At Potential Centene Campus

Plans recently submitted to the city of Sacramento offer more details about a possible Centene office campus in Natomas. Centene is a Saint Louis-based health insurance company. The Sacramento Business Journal's Sonya Sorich says the plans suggest the campus could include a fitness center for workers with a yoga room.

"There would also be a large cafeteria and an on-site medical office with exam rooms and a pharmacy, according to the plans," says Sorich. "And, of course, the campus is also expected to feature a cafeteria, coffee bar and dining hall."

Last November, the city entered into an employment incentive agreement with Centene. Under the deal, Centene could get up to $13.5 million in exchange for bringing 5,000 jobs to Sacramento. About 1,500 of those jobs would have to be "net new" jobs -- meaning they aren't simply relocated from other parts of the region. Centene has not commented on the proposed office development.

New Life For Old Building In Old Sac 

A Bay Area company with a track record of breathing new life into old buildings has won a building in Old Sacramento that was originally built in the 1850s as a grocery store. It's a 3-story structure at 914 Second Street. Sorich says the company Cypress Properties Group closed escrow on it last month for nearly $1.5 million.

"It's apparently toying with a number of fun, creative concepts," says Sorich. "The firm has tackled similar projects before, though this is its first in Sacramento's central grid. Most recently, it redeveloped a building in San Francisco's Chinatown district into a large public market with an Asian theme."

Rehab on the Old Sacramento site is expected to get underway by this fall. The goal is to open the building early next year. The basement is currently used by the city of Sacramento for historic tours.

Recreating Sacramento's Arts Economy

Sacramento's artistic and cultural vitality has shown a steady decline for the last five years. That's according to a new report. The Creative Vitality Index is a nationally recognized measure for tracking the health of a community's creative economy. Sorich says the index shows Sacramento falls below the U.S. average in both for-profit and nonprofit cultural activity, which includes sales in creative industries and occupational data.

"Members of the arts industry generally attribute this to three local weaknesses: poor economic planning, a lack of nonprofit investment and underdeveloped arts education programs," says Sorich.

Meanwhile, the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission is working on creating a roadmap for the future. The Creative Edge plan was approved earlier this month. It outlines recommendations for more distribution of public money into the creative economy...and starting an Arts Education Consortium for K-12 schools.

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