Best Real Estate Projects: Making What’s Old New Again
By Danny King
Sure, the brick exterior and five-foot-high loading dock at the old Capitol Wholesale Electric building presented a gritty but approachable façade that could be refashioned for office use. And the R Street location presented an intriguing redevelopment opportunity in an area that’s emerging as a creative-services hub.
But the triple-bow wooden trusses supporting the 41-year-old warehouse’s ceiling were what ultimately sealed the deal for developer Mike Heller.
HGA’s reception area, with its exposed brick and bowed ceiling trusses, exudes an industrial chic vibe.
“That roof system is very dramatic and grand,” said Heller, principal at Heller Pacific Inc., which, along with Ridge Capital, redeveloped the 24,000-square-foot building at 12th and R streets. “I knew quickly that this would appeal to any kind of creative tenant.”
Naturally, the building’s largest tenant would be an architect. In this case, HGA Architects and Engineers, which had been aiming to move from its longtime Roseville location to Sacramento. The company had been growing steadily, having acquired a San Jose-based architecture firm about two years ago and boosting its local headcount to about 60 from 45.
And with the technology and health care industries feeding steady growth in HGA’s local billings, the firm was looking to be geographically closer to other design firms while securing a better, more central location in order to attract younger associates.
“Not only did HGA want to be closer to the conversation in the community, but they also wanted space that reflected their brand aesthetic,” said Chris Strain, Sacramento-based executive director with Cushman & Wakefield, who represented the tenant. “It almost became like a three-dimensional brochure for HGA’s services.”
Looks wise, that meant taking advantage of the exposed brick walls and wooden trusses to create an industrial-chic vibe. Orange accents were added in some of the furnishings and on the mezzanine to brighten up the space. And the building’s street-side loading dock gives tenants a social area to view activity along R Street.