0821_Con&Dev_Digital Edition - Page 13

To renovate or replace ? When dealing with outdated or historic buildings , it comes down to good bones . That ’ s what convinced James Fitzgerald , principal and director of development at MarketOne Builders , to upgrade and modernize an office building at Sixth and J streets in Downtown Sacramento .
“ The 660 J Street building has good bones ,” Fitzgerald says of the 40-yearold office building . The need for a long list of improvements , including new elevators , upgraded lighting and HVAC systems , the addition of a pool deck and a new glass-fronted façade , might suggest otherwise to the untrained eye . But a strong steel framework , solid foundation and exposed concrete beams are the bones that provided a solid starting point for the 120,000-square-foot project and made it cost-effective .
“ Our first step is always a facility assessment — like kicking the tires on a car — to see what it will take to bring things like fire sprinklers and mechanical systems
up to code ,” Fitzgerald says . “ Then we bring the tenants through to assess what the market will be .”
Fitzgerald , whose offices are located in a renovated R Street warehouse , says there are always lots of different scenarios in deciding to renovate or build new . Ultimately , most decisions are economic — comparing the size of a pre-existing building to what might replace it and how much revenue it will generate while considering that time is money . “ A renovation is quicker to market ,” he says , noting that most can be finished in about a year , compared to three or four years for new construction .
Tax credits for investments that are held for at least 10 years also influenced the decision to upgrade the 660 J Street building to Class A standards — meaning the newest and most modern — and include high-tech fiber optics and broadband for what Fitzgerald calls “ new-age tenants .” That means more space for amenities and common creative space
while considering that the building will likely have dozens of individual tenants .
The architectural firm Lionakis considered those same factors while designing its new offices across the street in a historic building that housed a tractor dealership constructed just months before the start of World War II . Removing dropped ceilings that had been added in previous remodels revealed wooden barrel roofs and heavy timbers that are now being restored , while new glass will add light and an airy feel and new structural steel will support existing exposed concrete columns .
“ We want the space to create inspiration and character ” while also retaining the historic feel of the space , says Laura Knauss , a principal in the firm . Fitting in with the neighborhood was also important . “ The R Street Corridor has a certain rawness with exposed brick and concrete and we wanted to express that character as much as possible ,” Knauss says .
The California state government is also juggling several renovation and construction
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