Comstock's magazine 1117 - November 2017 - Page 20

n OPINION SEE SACRAMENTO’S RIVER DISTRICT AS A PLACE TO LIVE AND WORK by Patty Kleinknecht B usiness leaders in the River District want Sacramento businesses, investors and city officials to take a second look at this long-time commercial area that at one time was focused on the outward movement of goods via rail and water. It is now time to create an inward movement, attracting business and talent to the area’s historic, authentic environ- ment, which is ideally positioned to feed 21st century jobs and industry. The district comprises 830 acres located at the conflu- ence of the Sacramento and American rivers and serves as the northern entry to Sacramento’s central city. With the historic brick buildings featured along the North 16th Street corridor, it has the potential to become a desirable workplace for the next generation. As part of the “North 16 Street Business Strategy” pre- pared for the City of Sacramento by revitalization consultant Rod Stevens, of the business strategy firm Business Street, members of the River District community had the opportunity to dig deep into the district to identify the features that set us apart from other areas in the region: • We have an inventory of historic brick buildings that provide the authenticity the next-generation workforce seeks to grow their business. Not every business fits the attitude of a typi- cal office building. The new, tech-savvy worker is mobile and does not need pricey, premium office space. They seek space that has character, is inexpensive, flexible and adaptable to allow for computers or high-tech production equipment as their needs dictate. • Nearby housing offers the option for employees to work near where they live, with those homes situated in a highly- desired metropolitan setting. With Township Nine and Twin Rivers developing homes in the River District, we can offer a place to work and live within a short bike ride to recreation, restaurants, entertainment, other businesses and the Cali- fornia State Capitol. • To find an urban lifestyle with a vibe, one needs to look no further than Sacramento Pipeworks, the most recog- nized climbing gym in the area; Vintage Monkey, the only motorcycle-themed lounge in the area with mechanics on staff; and the proposed Pintworks microbrewery as proof that new and interesting things are happening at the River District. As a new generation of talent flocks to urban locations across the country, major employers and innovative startups want to base their operations near those urban centers. Busi- ness and industry are seeing an urban renaissance as a tal- ented workforce seeks to locate their creative, technical and production operations in close proximity to their homes and near the attributes they find desirable: brew pubs, climb- ing gyms, trendy restaurants and nightlife. How will those urban denizens merge with the machine shops, printers, distribution centers and others that now call the River District home? The union of the two lifestyles should work well as the mixture of old industry and new is what makes the area attractive as an incubator for future industry. The area may be particularly well-suited for artisanal production of specialty foods, fashion and furnishings that are made and sold locally; marketing and design firms that thrive in non-tra- ditional space; and the new businesses that will likely include software, agricultural technology, high-tech engineering and the fabrication of products yet to be conceived. As we imagine the future, we recognize the obstacles. Per- haps most notably in the River District is the high concentration of social services. Sacramento City, County and business lead- ers should seek to decentralize social services, both to reduce “How will those urban denizens commingle with the machine shops, printers, distribution centers and others that now call the River District home? The union of the two lifestyles should work well.” 20 | November 201 7