For years Emeryville, Cailfornia was a city in the east bay, you drove through on route to the San Francisco Bay Bridge. A tiny spot of city between Berkeley and Oakland. The entire city is 1.9 square miles and most of its citizens live on land fill in the bay. Mudtown its was called, known for its factories,bordellos and gambling halls. Few people lived there and there was virtually no retail.
Today Emeryville, is the home of Pixar Animation Studios (Toy Story, Monsters Inc) the biotechnology company Cetus and the headquarters of Several Software Companies. Over twenty thousand people work in this dot of a city. Even in today’s economy its retail and residential sectors continues to expand. Its also a retail giant,home of the largest and first Ikea store in Northern California. In retail dollars Emeryville ranks fifth in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Like Emeryville, millions of people drive through West Sacramento on route to Sacramento, Reno and Lake Tahoe. The city is located across the river from Sacramento in Yolo County. In 1987, the communities of Broderick, Bryte and West Sacramento incorporated..
With Business 80 and its proximity to the state capitol it was the home of many motels. These motels deteriorated after the construction of Interstate 80 and many of these motels became a haven for prostitution. For many years the city didn’t seem to have direction. Locally it had the distinction of being he home of many Folsom prison parolees.
In the early 1990’s an ambitious retail development was planned, off Interstate 80 and Reed avenue. Plans ranged from retail stores to an auto mall . As late as 2004 the 93 acre Riverpoint center had three tenants, two gasoline stations and a McDonalds.
While retail exploded in the suburban communities of Roseville,Citrus Heights and Elk Grove developers ignored West Sacramento.
Then the unthinkable happened.
The signature pyramid building, the Zuggurat opened in 1997 as the world headquarters of the Money Store.
The new ball club “The River Cats chose West Sacramento over Arco for a ball park.
Across the river from Downtown Sacramento.
If you were a betting man, Roseville was the safe bet for the retail Icon Ikea. Next choice was the freeway accessible Natomas area of Sacramento.
West Sacramento had been in contact with Ikea for over 10 years.
In 2006, Ikea opened its third Northern California store in the Riverpoint center.
It has been joined by Home Depot, and the largest Super Wal Mart in Northern California
. There are now several smaller store in this shopping center which in terms of retail dollars is the fourth largest in the region.
Unlike its much larger neighbor across the river, West Sacramento seems to have a larger vision. Evidence can be seen throughout the city.
In the north area, older once blighted area are parks and roadways filled with flowers. In the south area there is retail with Lowe’s and Target center.
Unlike Sacramento,pieces of the puzzle are coming together in Sacramento, its focus seems to be on infill rather than sprawl. Connecting communities through a series of parks.
The cities policy of “not to taking anything” may make this once undesired community,a community like no other in the valley.
The Port of Sacramento opened in 1963.
For the last few years the port has been losing money. In 2005 the lease was turned over to West Sacramento and Yolo county later that year the Port of Oakland agreed to manage the port. The port is currently generating positive revenue and as of 2008 officially changed its name to the Port of West Sacramento. Early this year the federal government awarded the port 10 million dollars to deepen the port to allow for larger ships.
In another coup, the city is now the headquarters for CALSTRS (Cailfornia State Teachers Retirement System) this signature building is next to the Zuggrat on the shores of the Sacramento River.
The seven term Mayor, Christopher Cabaldon
has a strong vision for his community.
Two million people live in the Sacramento Region with most communities looking like the next. West Sacramento like Roseville to the east, there are few long term coming soon signs. Unlike Roseville, West Sac is distinctive, with signature buildings that says your in West Sacramento.
An Amphitheater next to Raley’s Field is planned for 2010