Urban Renewal

Sacramento to demolish and replace entire neighborhood

Architecture City Terrain News West
Sacramento, California’s Twin Rivers neighborhood is slated to be demolished and replaced with an expanded mixed-income district over coming years, according to plans being undertaken by St. Louis–based developer McCormack, Santa Ana, California–based SVA Architects, and the City of Sacramento. (Courtesy SVA Architects)
Sacramento, California’s Twin Rivers neighborhood is slated to be demolished and replaced with an expanded mixed-income district over coming years, according to plans being undertaken by St. Louis–based developer McCormack, Santa Ana, California–based SVA Architects, and the City of Sacramento. (Courtesy SVA Architects)

Sacramento, California’s Twin Rivers neighborhood is slated to be demolished and replaced with an expanded mixed-income district over coming years, according to plans being undertaken by St. Louis–based developer McCormack, Santa Ana, California–based SVA Architects, and the City of Sacramento. The changes for the affordable housing–rich enclave aim to test a new federal housing policy called the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative that aims to revitalize whole neighborhoods.

The renewal effort comes as the City of Sacramento moves to redevelop much of the Dos Rios Triangle and former Union Pacific Railyards district, both downtown-adjacent quadrants of the city encompassed mainly by industrial and municipal uses. The wedge-shaped Dos Rios Triangle sits on the banks of the Sacramento and American Rivers and was developed starting in the 1920s as a commercial and industrial enclave due to its proximity to rail and river infrastructure. The Twin Rivers neighborhood within the Triangle was originally developed in 1952 by the federal government as a public housing project with 218 units.

With the redevelopment scheme, the number of total units in the area will more than double, as city officials aim to add mixed-use density to a somewhat sleepy corner of the city. The new development will bring 200 units that are set aside for current neighborhood residents to return to once construction is complete. Those units will be joined on the project sites by 280 additional townhouses and garden apartments that will be tailored to moderate-income professionals. This scheme is part of a plan, according to planning documents, to lend housing assistance to struggling working and middle class families unable to afford market rate rents due to the high costs associated with the ongoing statewide housing crisis. 



Renderings for the project depict a pair of perimeter block configurations for the new development, with tree-lined streets bordered by three- and four-story townhouses and apartment blocks. One of the project sites will contain an upgraded neighborhood park closest to the transit stop. The apartments feature contemporary massing with punched openings and flat roofs on the tallest sections and pitched roofs over the townhouse units.

The new development will also bring a new supermarket to the area and is being pursued in conjunction with light rail expansion into the area. The city has purchased a plot of land adjacent to Twin Rivers in order to build new light rail station on the existing Blue Line.

Demolition of the existing complex is due to begin in May 2018 though a final timeline for the project has not been released.

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