SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – More than 15 percent of the business space in the heart of California’s Capital City sits empty. That’s far above the average for a city like Sacramento.

It’s been a sad song for way too long.

Walking near the Downtown Plaza in Sacramento and K Street, you don’t want to use the old cliché “It’s a sign of the times”, but you can’t help but notice that business owners are still playing the blues.

Within a quarter-mile of the Plaza there are numerous vacant buildings littered with “For Lease and For Rent” signs. The beat goes on with no end in sight.

Despite two decades of Sacramento city leaders’ best efforts to re-energize and pump life into this corridor, it’s still performing way below its potential.

According to a recent study, the business vacancy rate sits at 15 percent, 5 points above the overall downtown average of 10 percent.

Are businesses leaving because it’s not a safe place for families to shop or maybe the homeless issue?

Brady Dixon of Colliers International, a brokerage firm that helps small businesses fill vacant buildings downtown, says it’s hard to keep businesses there. And the ones that are there, how do you keep them thriving?

“There’s not going to be a silver bullet or magic wand,” he said. “It’s going to take time, growth and process. We need more business generated to that area.”

Venila Sharma has been selling suits in this area since 1970. His customers hope to keep him and those like him still in business.

“I like downtown,” he said. “I’ve been here 42 years. The economy is bad so no matter what we do, people don’t have money to spend.”


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