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New retail space, other additions planned at 555 Capitol Mall


After signing up a number of prominent office tenants, the owners of 555 Capitol Mall are turning their attention to the property’s retail spaces.

Developer and operator Rubicon Partners submitted plans to the city this week to rehab spaces both on the first floor and on the third floor for new uses. The rehabbed spaces are meant to serve as amenities for tenants, but also to attract patrons at nearby Golden 1 Center.


“This is part of that activation strategy,” said Kipp Blewett of Rubicon, as he showed off what are empty shell spaces now. On the east side of 555 Capitol Mall’s first floor, Rubicon plans to develop two retail uses: A 1,900-square-foot coffee house and small cafe, and an 8,500-square foot "white tablecloth" restaurant. The main entrance to the restaurant, which faces east, is about 130 steps from the VIP entrance to Golden 1 Center, Blewett said.

Both the restaurant and coffee house will also have built-out patio space along Capitol Mall. To the west, the existing House restaurant will remain and also tie into expanded outdoor spaces.

On the third floor, Rubicon plans to build out a 3,000-square-foot event space, including an outdoor deck facing onto Capitol Mall. By day, the indoor part of the space could be used for conferences or an existing tenant, while at night it could host private functions.

While work on those spaces is set to begin by Jan. 1, the two-building complex is already seeing change in other ways. Blewett said he’d estimated about 100,000 square feet of 555 is in some stage of construction right now, and 90 percent of the building’s office spaces have commitments for new tenants.

Among those firms moving in or planning to are Buzz Oates Group of Cos., Visit California, Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP and the Sacramento Business Journal. Buzz Oates, with Rubicon Partners and Preferred Capital Advisors, acquired 555 Capitol Mall under the name Trinity Pacific Partners last year.

Blewett said there’s already been strong interest for both the restaurant and coffee house spaces. Much of that interest came from local groups, he added.

Those retail additions fit with office spaces featuring open floor plans and collaboration as potential recruiting tools for the building’s new tenants.

“We think this is the real Sacramento building where we get deals done,” he said, adding that’s represented by a sculpture of a handshake outside the lobby. “It’s going to be more the case here than ever.”

At the same time, rehab plans will also highlight 555’s architectural history as stemming from the “Chicago style” of the mid-20th century. Blewett said the building’s look went underappreciated for most of its history, but the austere style is now being recognized as part of a distinct architectural era.

“We think it can be reintroduced as a class A office space on Capitol Mall,” he said.

Rubicon also has plans to spruce up the parking garage directly across L Street from Golden 1 Center with new elevators, signs and a re-skinned exterior. All the improvements are intended to be complete by October 2016, to line up with the arena’s planned opening.

Ben van der Meer covers real estate, development, construction, water issues and the business of sports.


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