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Sentinel staff report–
The central and highly visible undeveloped acreage at Sylvan Corners remains a target for development by the City of Citrus Heights, which purchased the 11-acre former middle school property last year.
Five preliminary concept designs were presented to the City Council earlier this year, with designs ranging from primarily residential use, to office use, or a mixture of both.
A concept design emphasizing single-family residential shows sufficient room at the site for 40 homes and 24 additional townhouse units, for a total of 64 units with two parking spaces per unit. Room for about 12,000-square-feet of restaurant/cafe uses closes to Sylvan Corners is also shown in the design.
A higher-density residential concept shows more townhouses (a total of 64) and 20 single family homes. Changing that use to apartments would leave enough room for 256 units in seven multi-story buildings, along with more than 500 parking spots. Space for a 3,500-square-foot cafe or restaurant is shown at the corner.
An office-focused use for the Sylvan 40 property would allow for as much as 156,000-square-feet of one and two-story office buildings, with 488 parking spaces and a 4,800-square-foot cafe closest to Sylvan Corners. The cafe and outdoor plaza at the corner is a feature seen on all design concepts, fitting with the city’s design goals that envisions a “Sylvan Plaza.”
A mixed-used concept design shows room for a pair of 25,000-square-foot office buildings on the northern end of the property, with a three-story, 50-unit residential building and a four-story mixed-use building with 50 units. A 4,800-square-foot restaurant/cafe building is also shown nearest Sylvan Corners.
In keeping with council-approved design goals for the property, the designs all place buildings towards the street with parking in the rear. The designs also do not feature any gas stations or drive-thru’s which are specifically prohibited in the city’s design goals for the property.
All concept plans also allow flexibility for the adjacent Sylvan Cemetery to potentially purchase a portion of the lot on the northern end for expanding the graveyard. The cemetery had proposed buying a 2.3-acre portion of the lot, but City Council members had consensus on offering no more than one acre.
Cemetery representative Jim Monteton said Thursday that the need for grading, replacing fencing and paving a road extension would only make sense with the 2.3 acres proposed, saying the one-acre option would be a “large expense and no return.” Council members had expressed concern that sectioning off anything over an acre for the cemetery would hinder the city’s efforts to attract developers.
Concept designs were drafted by the Irvine-based RSG consulting group to show what could fit at the site, but actual designs are to be proposed by developers. The city’s goal in purchasing the property for $3.43 million last year was to resell it to a developer, giving the city more say in what will be built at the prime, high-traffic corner.
“Our goal is to put this out for development proposals to come back in,” Mayor Jeff Slowey clarified during the April council meeting where designs were previewed. “We look at what different developers would be proposing along with purchasing that land and then go forward with a cohesive plan for the entire 11.2 acres.”
The April presentation included results of a market analysis and a 10-year overview of the city’s labor force and unemployment, which showed stable employment around 40,000. Slowey commented that the figures were “all shot to heck right now,” as the analysis was put together prior to March 19, when mandatory economic shutdowns were imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
According to a tentative timeline posted on the city’s website, next steps for the Sylvan property are to prepare and release documents seeking development offers, followed by a review of submissions and initiation of development negotiations by August of this year. An email to a city spokeswoman on Thursday seeking an updated timeline was not immediately returned.
Additional conceptual design images will be included in The Sentinel’s June 21st Weekend Edition. Click here to sign up free
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