SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With Major League Soccer expected to announce on Monday that it’s picking Sacramento as its 29th franchise, people are looking to the Railyards, where the construction of an MLS stadium is planned.
Sacramento native Denton Kelley is the managing principal with LDK Ventures. That's the company developing much of the Railyards-- not the soccer stadium itself, but hotels, shops and apartments down the street from it.
"I think the whole community's going to be very pleased when they see just the sheer magnitude of development that's finally going to be occurring in the Railyards after all these years,” Kelley told ABC10 Thursday afternoon, on site at the Railyards.
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People will likely be seeing construction for the next 10-15 years, he said. LDK Ventures plans on building between 5,000 and 6,000 new housing units in the Railyards, a mix of affordable housing and market rate. As soon as next summer, construction will begin on two buildings with a combined total of 482 housing units. More than 200 of those will be affordable housing.
“A large part of the homelessness issue is having beds, is affordable housing, so I would say that we’re actually contributing to the solution by virtue of putting in infrastructure to build housing—and not just market-rate housing but affordable housing,” Kelley said.
Renovations to the existing historic railyard buildings will create shops, restaurants and office space.
Aside from the MLS stadium and LDK Ventures’ project, Kaiser Permanente announced earlier this year it plans on building a medical facility in the Railyards as well.
Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council, said people on the nearby I-5, which overlooks the Railyards, will start noticing the changes.
"Twelve-point-five million cars every year drive by the Railyards, and since 1994 they've seen an empty, rusted out, old railyard,” Broome said. “And now you're going to have 12.5 million cars drive by the Railyards...and they're going to go, 'Wow. Everything's really starting to happen in the Sacramento region.'"
A Major League Soccer designation for Sacramento would bring more jobs and visitors to the city, he added.
"Development increases jobs and tax income,” Broome said. “We really needed this, as a community. People were saying after Golden 1, we were a one-trick pony. ‘Yeah, you kept the Kings, you pulled off Golden 1. Golden 1’s beautiful, but now what?’”
He pointed out an MLS designation and stadium will connect the Railyards with Sacramento’s nearby Downtown Commons, “so it’s going to create more successful opportunities at DOCO.”
Some of those new workers the city could attract might live in the Railyards, within walking distance of a Major League Soccer stadium.
"An employer's not going to come here because now soccer is here, but it may be the tipping point,” Kelley said. “All of a sudden, we've put all these pieces in place and like, 'Oh, and you've got soccer? Okay, let's talk about it.' So it's just a little extra icing on the cake of what's going to be a very successful project."
It would be success after a long string of rejections and delays in getting Major League Soccer to choose Sacramento.
"We're going to become the community that I know we can become because now we've learned how to fight and scrap and get up and fight and scrap and win, and that's how you become a winning community,” Broome said. “Indomitable, indeed."
And success breeds success, he said.
“We haven’t announced it yet, but there is another potential massive entertainment opportunity that is evaluating the Railyards right now, that, you know, wouldn’t be as big as MLS, but it’d be one of the biggest things that have happened to the community,” Broome said. “Momentum begets momentum.”
On Monday, the Sac Republic Football Club will host a block party to celebrate what it’s calling a “major announcement.” It starts at 4 p.m. on Mon., Oct. 21 at Capitol Mall and Fifth Street.
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Sacramento is expected to be awarded the latest Major League Soccer franchise, a source familiar with the expansion process tells ABC 10 News.