The City of Elk Grove held an Open House on October 1, 2019, where staff discussed an unnamed project, north of District56. The 26-acre lot has extreme potential, but the city is doing something it hasn’t done before–it is asking for the public’s input.
With the completion of District56 in late 2019, the city is moving on to another big project.
Teaming up with ELS Architecture and Urban Design, plus a number of other companies, Elk Grove wants to bring something new and unique to the city. Darrell Doan, the city’s Economic Development Director, and Christopher Jordan, along with Ryan Call from ELS, led the meeting.
The Unnamed Project
The 26-acre plot sits above District 56, with Elk Grove Boulevard on the northern side, Bruceville Road on the west, and Dignity Hospital on the east side. ELS has come up with three different concepts of what could potentially go on the lot.
However, the city and ELS do not want to drop another shopping center in this area. Instead, they want to modernize and do something different.
The city wants to make a space that encourages the public to stay and gather, while also spending money. ELS has come up with a design that includes parks, retailers, an entertainment hub, and a hotel. The plan is to elevate the area around District56, while also giving citizens a place to socialize and shop. Though a parking garage will be installed, walking and biking will be highly encouraged in this area.
The three concepts play with the location of the retailers and public spaces. It should be noted that the city has not officially decided on a concept yet. The public was invited to give their input on what they liked and did not like about the idea. The consensus was guarded, as many voiced their concerns about traffic. Many citizens loved the idea of a public space, especially one that was easily accessible through public transit or by biking. Suggestions of retailers or entertainment anchors were not proposed during the meeting.
One citizen wondered if a hotel was necessary or even profitable for the city. The citizen stated that she did not believe that many of the hotels in Elk Grove were even at full capacity. According to Doan, many of the hotels in Elk Grove were at 75% capacity, which for the hotel industry meant that business was strong. Another citizen wanted to know how tall the hotel would be, citing how he didn’t want strangers looking into his yard. Though the height of a potential hotel was not presented, the city wants to be considerate to the citizens’ privacy concerns.
Some citizens also wondered if it would be possible for the Light Rail to make a stop in this area. Presently, the city has not been contacted about building a light rail station in Elk grove.
The Big Concern
Unfortunately, too many people in the crowd remembered the failed mall.
The mall was supposed to be built near Highway 99 and Krammer Road. The project has not progressed, however, and remains surrounded by a chain-link fence. The only visitors are the area’s wildlife, a sole security patrol car, and tumbleweeds. The failure loomed like a black cloud over the room, and many citizens did not want to see this project as another failure.
Doan and Jordan sympathized with the public, aware that the empty space was a “blight” for the city. They, and many of the city staff, did not want a repeat of the mall situation. While the city cannot promise that the project will be successful, the numbers and interest from developers is a good sign that it could be. They were encouraged by the marketing analysis.
There is a tentative plan to start construction in 2021, if the economy holds strong. The city staff must present the project to the city council first, and then seek out private developers to sell the land to so development can start.