Going to Del Paso soon?

The city of Sacramento is poised to do something local scalawags have long dreamed of: close the SN&R’s Midtown offices. But don’t start that funeral jig at 20th and J streets just yet, Chachi. Under a deal now cooking with heat, your favorite alt-weekly would relocate to the building at 1124/1132 Del Paso Boulevard. The City Council is scheduled on June 12 to consider development agreements between SN&R and the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency. Basically, SN&R wants a $955,000 construction loan from SHRA and to buy the city-owned building for a total of $1.55 million. Chico Community Publishing, which owns SN&R and newsweeklies in Chico and Reno, would then develop the site and, if all goes according to plan, move in about a year from now.

Converging forces—an expiring lease, the need for more space and rising Midtown rents—forced the weekly to hire a real-estate broker three years ago with the idea of remaining in the central city, or as close to light-rail lines as possible, so the workplace would remain convenient to SN&R staffers. The paper’s poohbahs actually came close to snagging the same Del Paso building from its then-private owners, but environmental concerns killed that deal—which the city resurrected after swooping in to purchase the property and doing more environment testing. Construction at the former supermarket and furniture store will utilize energy efficiency and “green” building practices, according to Deborah Redmond, SN&R’s chief operations officer.

“The city and SHRA have been great in encouraging us to come,” said Jeff vonKaenel, SN&R president and CEO, in an exclusive interview with his own paper. “They put together a good package for us.” Besides helping to meet growing space needs, the deal would allow SN&R to “play an important role in the revitalization of Del Paso,” said vonKaenel, who knows something about the renaissance of neglected neighborhoods. “Del Paso reminds me of what Midtown looked like when we moved here 12 years ago.”