It is, by all appearances, and urban utopia. Come this spring, more than 500 people will work there, more than 200 will live there, and thousands more will dine and shop there. Its innovative tenant mix ranges from an insanely popular “doughnuterie” to a gourmet dog food shop and an internet-based boutique where you don’t leave with the clothes you buy. And this bustling village within a city- elevated by art and cutting-edge architecture- all exists within a two-block span in the coolest district in town. Could the Ice Blocks be the new model for modern living in Sacramento?
After years of planning, this bustling corridor in the heart of the city has finally come into its own.
R Street has come a long way. Back when its remaking was merely a twinkle in the eye of developers and city planners, there were competing visions for what this urban corridor, which straddles downtown and midtown from Ninth to 19th streets, ought to be: a succession of traditional office buildings with virtually no signs of life after dark, or an energetic, all-hours hub for shopping, dining, culture and entertainment. The dreamers won.
“I’m very proud that leaders in the city of Sacramento and local advocates fought for a just outcome and recognized that R Street is special,” says Michael Heller of Heller Pacific, the developer behind the game-changing Ice Blocks project at the east end of the corridor. “The street has a rich history and great physical character. It deserved to be a mixed-use pedestrian corridor and not just a street lined with bland office buildings.”
Midtown’s fast-growing Ice Blocks is getting another trendy new tenant: West Elm, the international home decor store, is opening Thursday.
The company features pieces with a clean, sharp, modern aesthetic. Near the middle of the store, there is a coffee table that embodies the store’s design credo – it’s a simple, rectangular pieces made of light wood, with the grain variations still clearly visible. It sits on top of thin rods of blackened steel, giving it an industrial feel. But it’s practical, too – the top of the table pops up to reveal ample storage space, and doubles as a tabletop to work or eat on.
San Francisco’s famous Philz Coffee is opening their first Sacramento area shop in the R Street Corridor.
“It’s a great fit. The space is great. The environment is inspiring and uplifting and comfortable and welcome. And that’s what Philz is all about,” said Philz Coffee CEO Jacob Jaber.
It’s the first retail shop to open in the newly transformed Ice Blocks project.
BY CATHIE ANDERSON
Developer Mike Heller will announce Monday that his Ice Blocks project in midtown Sacramento has signed on a signature retail tenant: West Elm, the contemporary home furnishings store owned by Williams-Sonoma, is set to open in mid-2018.
“Not only is West Elm a great fit for Ice Blocks and all the housing projects under construction in this neighborhood,” Heller said, “it’s also a huge win for Sacramento in general. Along with Urban Outfitters coming to (Downtown Commons), this marks the beginning of a new era of shopping on the grid.”
West Elm will be the largest tenant at Heller Pacific’s Ice Shops, occupying 10,992 square feet. The $80 million, mixed-use Ice Blocks project covers three blocks along the R Street corridor between 16th and 18th streets in midtown Sacramento. There is 30,000 square feet of retail space on the ground level with 100,000 square feet of office space above it.