A Call to Action – Help Save Capitol Towers Historic District!

captowers_buttonWe need your help to save Capitol Towers Historic District. You can help by speaking up at public hearings and by writing letters opposing its demolition. Upcoming hearing dates and an easy-to-use online form are listed below.

Capitol Towers is an established mixed-use neighborhood in the heart of downtown Sacramento. Its award-winning design includes the interplay of high-rises, individual low-rise garden apartments, green spaces, recreational areas, and car-free bicycle and pedestrian areas. Even after over 50 years, the Capitol Towers neighborhood remains a highly successful model for a livable, walkable, densely populated, and public transit-oriented downtown community.

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Capitol Towers has been deemed a historic district by Federal and State law. The City of Sacramento’s Preservation Director and Preservation Commission have also determined it is a local landmark. At every hearing in 2014, experts unanimously voted in favor of its historical importance. However, these decisions are not enough to save it. That is why we need your help.

The next public hearing will be the Planning and Design Commission at
New City Hall (915 “I” Street, Sacramento, CA) on June 11, 2015 at
5:30PM. A city staff report with exhibits will be available online after Friday,
June 5, 2015. You may access this report by selecting the agenda for the
Planning and Design Commission meeting at the following link:

If you cannot attend, please write in support of saving Capitol Towers
Historic District. Our colleagues at Preservation Sacramento have an easy
to use form online that you can use to share your views regarding
Sacramento Commons:

There are creative and innovative ways to build Sacramento Commons
without destroying Capitol Towers Historic District. There is room in our city
for both neighborhoods.

Ideally, the Sacramento Commons project should be built on a more
suitable and nearby available site that would benefit from new
development. That is what our city truly needs. New development on the
Docks Waterfront or Railyards areas — or on vacant lots. Not on an already
established and thriving community!

This is an exciting and dynamic time for Sacramento. We are at a
crossroads of opportunities and decisions. But as we envision our future,
we also need to look to our past.

Historic districts offer a sense of place and are the cultural heart of our city.
They make our cityscape vibrant and interesting as it grows and adapts.
It’s the walk through time, the architectural diversity, and the mix of the old
with the new. Look no further than what is happening at R Street as a living,
breathing example.

Building Sacramento Commons on an alternate site achieves MAXIMUM
public benefits for the City of Sacramento.

Building on an alternate site would result in:

  • MORE housing density and variety;
  • MORE jobs;
  • BETTER sustainability in terms of embodied energy and our valued tree canopy;
  • and an INCREASE in the total number of public transit-oriented

If Sacramento Commons must be built at Capitol Towers Historic District, a
balance of increased density and retention of historical resources could be
achieved. Numerous workable alternatives have been proposed that accomplish this goal during the CEQA process and as the proposed project has evolved.

Unfortunately, Sacramento Planning and Design Commissioners will be
providing their final review and comments regarding Sacramento Commons with only four business days to study the project’s final Environmental Impact
Report (EIR). Once the Final EIR is prepared, Sacramento City Council is
expected to make their decision. This hearing is tentatively scheduled for
July 14, 2015.

This is Sacramento’s chance to show true leadership and innovation — to
choose what is genuinely best for our city, its people, and our community.
End the cycle of needless and wasteful destruction. Build new projects on
true infill areas. Add density in a way that doesn’t destroy a beautiful
historic district and established neighborhood where people live, work, and
relax in a vital and rare urban greenspace.

SacMod sincerely thanks everyone who has shown support for Capitol
Towers Historic District. It is heartening to see our community make a

For more background information regarding why Capitol Towers is special
and should be preserved, please see an excellent article written by Flora
Chou: http://cglhs.org/archives/Eden-18.1-Wi-2015.pdf (article begins on
page 8).

For a detailed background and analysis of the proposed Sacramento
Commons project, please see SacMod’s comments to the City of Sacramento. 2015.04.20 DEIR.Response.SacMod (PDF).