Several state-owned buildings in downtown Sacramento have been selected as potential affordable housing sites.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office announced Tuesday that the state of California is seeking proposals to redevelop the Employment Development Department headquarters and the State Personnel Board building along Capitol Mall and the EDD Solar building at 751 N Street.
Organizations operating out of these buildings will be relocated in 2025, Newsom’s office said in a prepared release Tuesday, adding that the three properties are along Sacramento Regional Transit light rail lines and “will be unlocked for potential development into new transit-oriented affordable housing.”
Nearly 400 one, two and three-bedroom units could be made available by converting just the existing EDD headquarters into housing, a 2020 Department of General Services study found.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said that the three proposed projects could bring as many as 1,000 affordable units to the area. Up to 20% of that housing would be affordable, according to Sacramento Assembly member Kevin McCarty.
Steinberg also said the projects could be exactly what’s needed for downtown — where businesses have struggled during the pandemic.
“People ask, ‘How do we transform downtown Sacramento?’ This is part of the answer,” he said at a press conference Tuesday. “What is the key to the future of downtown? It is housing. It is food and it is entertainment.”
This move comes as part of an executive order Newsom issued in 2019, which requires officials to identify excess state-owned property that could be turned into affordable housing.
“In the fall of 2020, with the state workforce largely transitioned into emergency telework, the Department of General Services had the foresight to study the adaptive reuse potential of these buildings,” DGS Director Anna Lasso said in a prepared statement Tuesday.
Since the executive order was issued, the Governor’s office has approved a handful of developments, including affordable housing projects along O Street and Arden Way in Sacramento. It has also approved projects in Placerville, San Joaquin County and Stockton.
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