Reporting Anjali Hemphill
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – While the city is focused on the fate of the Kings and a possible new downtown arena, a group of young entrepreneurs is working on revitalizing downtown Sacramento, whether or not the arena gets built.
“It’s kind of a waiting game for all the developers. If the Kings stay, there will be a lot more interest,” said Turn Downtown Around co-founder Demetri Gregorakis.
A group called Turn Downtown Around says downtown Sacramento has suffered long enough and the wait for a new arena is only making things worse.
“There’s definitely a Plan A, ‘Come on Kings! Come on Kings!’ But, what’s our Plan B?” asked Carina Lampkin, Turn Downtown Around co-founder.
A group of young entrepreneurs have gotten together to turn downtown around without the help of the city or a new arena.
“Midtown is doing really well because of people like us that came together and wanted change. But down here, there’s nothing going on,” said Gregorakis.
Their goal is to add life again to storefronts and vacant buildings. Gregorakis and Lampkin say the turnaround is possible, and point to a business they began in an empty building as proof.
“What Blackbird successfully did on a shoestring budget was come in and flip it. And if we flipped this building, let’s do it one building at a time,” said Lampkin.
However, more businesses aren’t all they care about. They also want to see more housing and more art. They plan to paint murals in an empty lot on 8th and K Streets – just the first steps in a plan to bring back thousands who left downtown decades ago.
“We don’t want to wash over what’s already here,” said Gregorakis. “We want to work with it and bring that out because it’s actually pretty amazing what Sacramento was before this all became state-owned buildings.”
The organization’s first big fundraiser is planned for next March. Funds will go to the mural project on K Street, which they hope to begin working on right away.
The group’s current priority is to revitalize the west end of Downtown Plaza.