Two projects have been given the go-ahead at The Railyards in downtown Sacramento.

Rail Relocation Project Jump-Starts Construction at The Railyards

Construction at the 240-acre redevelopment site has been on hold since the previous developer, Thomas Enterprises, Newnan, Ga., defaulted on a $187 million loan, which forced the property into foreclosure late last year. The new developer, I.A. Sacramento Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of Oak Brook, Ill.-based Inland American Real Estate Trust Inc., Thomas Enterprises’ original lender, is currently renegotiating contracts with the city for future projects.

Last week, Granite Construction Inc. was awarded a $41-million rail relocation project by the city, booking the project into its first quarter 2011 backlog. The Railyards project entails moving and realigning the tracks 500 ft north to clear the way for future housing, shops, museums and entertainment venues, as well as for future expansion of the nearby Sacramento Intermodal Transportation Facility.

Granite’s work includes relocation of approximately 2.3 mi of heavy rail track, major utility infrastructure and site improvements, construction of multiple access tunnels for pedestrians and service vehicles as well as new passenger tracks and platforms.

Work is scheduled to begin next month and be completed by December 2012.

Meanwhile, the state’s Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) has selected a site at the southernmost end of The Railyards for a new Sacramento Criminal Courthouse. The city block is bounded by H Street on the south, 5th Street on the west, G Street on the north and 6th Street on the east.

According to the AOC, The Railyards site has received strong support from community leaders, including a June 2010 resolution by the Sacramento City Council and the county of Sacramento in favor of the site for the new courthouse, because it would jump-start vertical development and provide an opportunity for a landmark building in the area.

The local architecture firm of Nacht & Lewis and the global firm of HOK already have been selected to design the proposed new courthouse.

The new courthouse, 405,000 sq ft and up to 16 stories tall, would provide 44 courtrooms (35 to be relocated from the Gordon D. Schaber Courthouse and nine for new judicial positions), would consolidate most of the court’s criminal operations, and would centralize court operations from other downtown leased facilities. The proposed project includes a renovation of the Schaber Courthouse, and the AOC is also making plans for public parking options as a part of the project.

The project is funded by Senate Bill 1407, enacted by the state legislature in 2008 to authorize up to $5 billion for 41 new and renovated court facilities using court user fees, without impact on the state’s general fund. This project was ranked as an “immediate need” in the judicial branch’s capital-outlay plan, according to the AOC, making it among the branch’s highest-priority infrastructure projects.

Construction is scheduled to start in early 2013 and be completed in 2015.