Sacramento Dreaming (that’s me on the 34th floor)

There are defining  moments that never fade from memory.  My defining  moment was in an hotel room in Portland Oregon.  I was sixteen years old  watching Johnny Carson on the 14th floor of the Portland Hilton looking down onto 6th Ave watching the city go by.  I clearly remember thinking this is what I want.  I want to live in an highrise building with large windows.   That’s  the moment CityFella was born.

Life happens, dreams are often placed on hold or abandoned completely to meet the demands of today.

A few years ago I reconnected with a friend living in New York.   He lived on the 41st floor of a large condo on the east side, in a building where there where doormen, health clubs, swimming pools as were cleaning services and restaurants.     He had my life, what he didn’t have was child care, lawns, homework and trash cans to be moved on Thursdays.

At the beginning of this new century, some  Baby Boomers returned to the urban core.   The appeal of the is convenience.  No maintenance, with theaters, shopping ,galleries within blocks of your home.

It seemed every large city was building highrise residential buildings.  From Atlanta to Austin building cranes were everywhere.   In Sacramento, there where  plans to build  Condominiums downtown, notably the twin 52 Saca Towers and the Aura Condos.

The Aura project was designed by the famed  Architect  Daniel Libeskind, both projects died.   The vertical Lofts on L Street and the Penthouses at Capitol Park opened during the Economic Crises.

In Austin, Texas  most of  the Condominiums  opened during the economic crisis  became rentals to generate revenue.  Today most of those condos are owner occupied with others planned.   Austin is home to two of  the tallest  residential buildings in the United States west of the Mississippi.

As I drive by the large  empty hole on Capital Mall surrounded by fencing, I often wonder what if .      What impact would the Sac Towers and the beautiful Aura were built.    Both designs were well received and discussed nationally.

The question for lenders was  there a market is in Sacramento for vertical homes?    Developer John Saca  sold out one of the two  52 story towers, but that project failed, a victim of construction costs.  Aura was dead on arrival, the developer could not get financing.

There were two vertical projects built  in the last decade.   The L Street lofts and the Penthouses at Capitol Park  both projects are still looking for buyers.  Many projects including , a three story condo on 16th street across from the Governors Mansion, and other projects are empty.

There is something about buildings and our connection to them.

What makes a building attractive, design, convenience ,location?

Sacramento’s has one signature building, the State Capitol.   The rest are basic boxes or 1/4 replicas of other buildings in other cities.

The L Street Lofts and the Penthouse at Capitol Park missed the mark.   The Lofts have large windows and a lot of wasted space.   The Penthouses make good use of  space but have small windows and the inner units are dark.

Aura and Sac Towers were unique.  The Massive Sac Tower Project  included Shopping, hotels and many amenities not seen in buildings in Sacramento.

The Towers where not boxes with windows, the building were tall and curved with different shapes surfaces.

Aura was a box with many different shapes.

Who will take a risk in Sacramento?

 Someone took a risk in Austin Texas.   The sure money was in Dallas and Houston, not Austin.  But someone planted  a seed…..

Austin Texas Skyline 2005

Austin Texas, Skyline 2011

Is Sacramento ready for vertical living….   Yes!

California is  the ninth largest economy in the world.  Only Washington DC has more governmental associations and lobbyist than Sacramento.  Currently these lobbyist live in corporate apartments throughout the city several miles from the capitol.

When the Sac Tower website was up, I  spent many hours dreaming , looking at the views and various configurations.  I decided a two bedroom unit on the 34th floor in the west tower was the perfect place.

One day someone will build my condo in Sacramento…  Where I can sit and read books and watch the city below me…  One day……

Someday we’ll find it , “The Rainbow Connection” the lovers, the dreamers and me



  1. Clearly you’ve never lived in a highrise… It’s not as pleasant as you make it sound — trust me on that… The only good thing about tall buildings is that they’re a convenient way for residents to kill themselves — and little else….


  2. I own my home, and never wanted to live downtown in some condo…. I must agree with you about Sacramento’s leaders. They are very dysfunctional. I enjoy reading your blog, you have some interesting stories and its off center… I like that. Good Work!


  3. With the more real than before possibility of the Sacramento Kings staying in Sacramento and the building of a new arena at Downtown Plaza, we have seen a huge increase of inquiries at from investors looking for stalled condominium projects within a 3-5 mile radius around Midtown Sacramento, I envision rebirth of some of the tower projects but from a dirt level as many of the concepts had not broken ground. The Sac Towers location still is a great option for a high rise condominium tower and I believe you will see projects started as ground breaks for the new arena maybe even as part of the mall project with the new ownership group that purchased it recently. There is demand as we did the pre sales for Aura and the demand was great and that lot is still available for a project maybe this time by the property owner David Taylor who may take a project on himself next to his US Bank Tower next door. Lots of excitement in Midtown Sacramento, now just to make it happen.


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