Bob Shallit: A fearless look ahead
If Bob Shallit's right, Greyhound will finally leave downtown; CalPERS will get into high-rises and the Kings; and Tower's founder will rise to the occasion
By Bob Shallit - Bee Columnist
Published 12:00 am PST Monday, January 1, 2007
Story appeared in BUSINESS section, Page D5
It will be a year of high-rise promises fulfilled, finally. Of new international air service, finally. And of one fascinating little retail resurrection.
Straight to it, here's our fearless forecast for the local business scene in 2007.
• Airport officials have been lobbying for years to get nonstop service to Canada. We've been predicting it would happen. This year they get their wish, we get our prediction.
• Speaking of past predictions gone bad, we've long said downtown's Greyhound bus station would move. It's gone nowhere. This is the year. (At least we're consistent.)
• Condos, condos. We see progress in those bold plans to put high-rise condos in the downtown core. The most ambitious of the plans -- John Saca's, at Third and Capitol Mall -- will get additional funds from CalPERS and start to rise from the ground.
• Speaking of high-rise condos, the county will find a new developer to step in with plans for a tower on land it owns at Eighth and I streets, following home builder D.R. Horton's decision to back off from its plans there.
• High-rises in the burbs? Believe it. A local company will come forward with a bold plan for a condo tower along the Highway 50 corridor.
• It won't have a Parthenon-top, but an office building will rise this year at 500 Capitol Mall. Another office project is under way across the street. The market may be slow for a while. But George Tsakopoulos and his son, Angelo G. Tsakopoulos, are long-term players.
• Meanwhile, George's brother, Angelo K. Tsakopoulos, will pull the trigger on Phase II of Meridian Plaza. Construction of the 23-story office building at 15th and K streets will begin in the second half of the year.
• As for that retail resurrection, Tower Records founder Russ Solomon will open a new Sacramento store, with a winning combination of books, CDs and coffee. Resurrection Records will be a hit.
• Tough times continue for the newspaper business. Wild guess here but we're thinking the year will pass without any blockbuster acquisitions by The McClatchy Co.
• Sacramento officials will balk at backing Westfield Corp.'s plans for revitalizing Downtown Plaza. Council members will look at the plans, see a new Target store and maybe a grocery as the only significant changes and ask: Why do Westfield properties elsewhere get all the love?
• Speaking of downtown, look for a year of big changes on K street. Developer Joe Zeiden will completely make over the 700 block. Meanwhile, the Sacramento City Council will back plans for a crowd-drawing, CBS-owned TV studio on the east end of the mall.
• This will be the year for Old Sacramento to come alive, with construction finally beginning on the Orleans Hotel, Ebner Hotel and Magnolia Saloon projects.
• Local venture capital fund American River Ventures has a huge year. It will sell two of the companies in its portfolio -- its first "liquidity events" -- and will raise close to $200 million for its new fund.
• Fundraising also will be the theme at UC Davis. Look for the launch of a new capital campaign that will bring more luster to the campus.
• On the new-company front, look for a break-out year for Revionics Inc., a Sacramento-based maker of software that helps midsized retailers optimize prices. It completed a nearly $2 million financing round last week. It will triple its roster of customers, to more than 100, over the next 12 months.
• This should be a great year, too, for a couple of local publicly traded companies. BluePoint Energy in El Dorado Hills, which makes cogeneration units, will score a bunch of new sales (and see its stock price rise). Ditto for medical equipment maker Volcano Corp. in Rancho Cordova.
• Look for a sale, in the next month or two, of the sprawling Crystal Cream & Butter Co. site in downtown. The buyer will lease back a portion of the property to Crystal for a year but could start developing a mixed-use project on the rest of the land.
• Two huge state leasing deals will shake up the commercial real estate market. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will take more than 200,000 square feet of space along the Highway 50 corridor, and the California Highway Patrol will sign a similarly sized lease in West Sac.
• How about those Kings? Despite an awful 2006-2007 season, with no playoff appearances, a deal is struck for a new, privately funded arena that will keep the team right here. Anybody like the name "CalPERS arena?"
We like the exits for ARV, but a prediction on return would be great - Pierre had asked for a 20 bagger in his Christmas list. And a CalPERS arena, that's almost too crazy to not be true.