JULY 16, 2014 — FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER –
By Steve Marschke
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Several hours after this article was published in July 16, the West Sacramento City Council voted to approve the deal described below for an “exclusive negotiating agreement” to pursue a new life for the Washington Firehouse).
Could a neglected, Depression-era firehouse on the West Sacramento riverfront find new use as a restaurant and a bar?
Has the time finally come for the rehabilitation of the old Washington Firehouse?
The city council tonight will consider entering a six-month period of exclusive negotiations with D&S Development, which hopes to make such a project happen. Bay Miry of D&S Development says the publicly-owned building could be made into a restaurant and bar with “possibly some work/live space.”
The project might be similar to what his company has achieved with rehabs of the Brewster’s building at 201 4th Street in Galt (built in 1882 for the Odd Fellows), or the old “Sheepherder Inn” at 11275 Folsom Boulevard in Rancho Cordova (now the Fire Rock Inn).
The Washington Firehouse at 317 3rd Street features some rounded “streamline” features that show its 1938 pedigree. Like the Tower Bridge, it was a “New Deal” project financed by the federal government to help combat the Depression. It features a stamp bearing the initials “WPA,” for Works Progress Administration.
The firehouse is located just around the corner from the landing to the I Street Bridge, in a riverfront neighborhood that civic leaders would like to become vibrant and diverse once again.
The firehouse has been empty since 1997, despite several spurts of development interest. In 1999, an architect hired by the city estimated that it could cost as much as a million dollars to renovate it into “leasable condition” for retail, restaurant and office use.
D&S Development also owns the nearby Bridgeway Market and surrounding land, with plans to create a residential project simultaneous with a rehab to the Washington Firehouse.
D&S Development hopes to negotiate for some city assistance to the firehouse project “in the form of a market-rate loan for the property, deferral of city fees, and commitment to pursue grant fees for streetscape improvements along 3rd Street,” says a city staff report.
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