Sacramento may have one of the country’s largest urban infill projects underway, but that doesn’t mean the city’s overall construction market has completely bounced back from recession.

“We are at about the same level as last year, which I consider too slow,” says David Kwong, acting director of the city’s Community Development Department.

He says the total valuation for construction projects in 2009 was about $350 million, the same figure he projects for this year. The total building permits issued in 2009 was 12,902 and the current total this year is 2,234 as of March 15.

Mark Cirksena, Sacramento regional manager for Redwood City-based DPR, says the market faces a sense of unrest and uncertainty.

“Once people have a sense of confidence about what will be happening in six months and next year and beyond, they will start to relax and banks will start lending money and projects are going to get built,” says Cirksena, whose company currently has a backlog of 20 projects in construction or on the drawing board in the Sacramento area worth about $200 million.

Steve Mitchell, vice president of Sacramento-based Teichert Construction, says he sees a market slowed by high unemployment and foreclosure rates, and tight credit.

“These factors along with the state budget deficit have had a devastating effect on the construction, aggregate and readymix concrete industry throughout California,” says Mitchell, whose company has been building in Sacramento since 1887. “Until unemployment numbers improve and consumer confidence increases there will be little improvement in the industry.”

He says he thinks the market will remain flat until early next year.

But this doesn’t mean Teichert isn’t staying busy. Besides several public works projects on I-80 in excess of $100 million, the company is serving as subcontractors on a series of infrastructure contracts on the estimated $6-billion Railyards project, one of the largest urban infill projects in the nation.

Located on the site of the Sacramento Union Pacific Railyards, north of downtown Sacramento, the 244-acre project is equivalent in size to the existing downtown central business district.

“This Railyards will have a $6 billion to $7 billion impact on city,” says Kwong.

The massive mixed-use project, being developed by Newnan, GA-based Thomas Enterprises, Inc. and master-planned by Los Angeles-based Jerde Partnership, will feature housing, shopping, a transportation hub and a possible sports arena.

Housing will include 12,000 high-density for-sale, rental and affordable units, including townhomes and condominiums. The residences will be accompanied by parks and water features.

For shopping and dining, the project will offer Central Shops with a variety markets, bakeries, cheese shops and fine dining restaurants embracing the valley’s ties to agriculture. The public marketplace will be highlighted by seven preserved, historic brick structures built in the 1880’s, as well as a grand outdoor plaza. The district will also feature a Railroad Technology Museum, exhibit space and a Broadway-style playhouse and education center.

Connecting to Central Shops will be the urban village Camille Lane, featuring one and two stories of retail and entertainment facilities with loft-style housing and office space nestled above.

Another important component of the Railyards is the new Sacramento Intermodal Transit Facility along with a new track alignment featuring light rail, rail and bus connections, freight services and pedestrian linkages on the south...