CalPERS Picks Hines For Sacramento Projects
The California Public Employees' Retirement System has selected a new development firm called Hines to manage its Sacramento real estate partnerships. That includes a site at 301 Capitol Mall — a vacant lot that's been empty so long, people call it the hole in the ground. The Sacramento Business Journal's Sonya Sorich says CalPERS announced earlier this month that it ended its relationship with previous project partner CIM Group on developing 301 Capitol Mall.
"City leaders have long sought a signature development at the site,” says Sorich. “Even with the most recent announcement, we're not sure about the next steps for 301 Capitol Mall, or how soon those steps could come."
Hines is based in Houston, but it's been active in Sacramento commercial real estate investment. In 2017, the firm bought the Park Tower high-rise on 9th Street for more than $120 million. Hines is also the lead developer for one of the most high-profile private projects in Sacramento in recent years — the North Natomas campus for health insurance company Centene.
Litigation Likely Over AB5
The fight over classifying workers as either employees or independent contractors isn't over yet, even though Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 5 this week. That's the bill aimed at giving wage and benefit protections to workers by limiting eligibility for independent contractor status in California. Sorich says that, in addition to ride-hailing drivers in the gig economy, the legislation also affects trucking interests.
"This week an official with the Western States Trucking Association told us he expects there will be litigation,” says Sorich. “Overall, it's difficult to say how this will play out. It's possible that an industry that believes the law is overly broad will sue the state. Or maybe, the state will punish an industry for violations and that will lead to a counter suit."
Analysts say the new law could prompt some businesses to leave the state. It's also possible that more California companies will hire out-of-state contractors. The law takes effect Jan. 1.
Country Club Plaza Fills Another Vacancy
After years of slumping sales and empty store space, one of Sacramento's oldest shopping centers continues to see renewed activity. Country Club Plaza at Watt and El Camino avenues has filled another vacancy. Sorich says it's a restaurant called Shell Shock Seafood House, which also has a location in Hayward.
"The owners of two other restaurants in Country Club Plaza, IceyPoki and Sakura Grill & Buffet, will operate this new site,” says Sorich. “The restaurant could open next summer."
The restaurant will fill a stand-alone building that was previously occupied by Wood'ys Grill & Bar. Meanwhile, the former Macy's site at Country Club Plaza is still empty, and there's no word yet about any new tenants. Macy's closed its Country Club site in 2016.