Thank you, Sandy Sheedy

Jeff vonKaenel

Several years ago, if you drove down Del Paso Boulevard in north Sacramento, you would have seen a run-down 19,000-square-foot building with an empty parking lot. This old, vacant erstwhile supermarket and furniture store was like a gigantic billboard saying, “Welcome to Del Paso Boulevard: Our best days are behind us.”

Now if you drive down Del Paso, you will see a dramatic red building with 14 new trees and a big SN&R sign on the front. This building, our building, says, “Welcome to Del Paso: We’re coming back.” And now, as the streetscape is being completed, it says, “And we are coming back in style.”

This transformation of our building, and of much of our neighborhood, owes a lot to Sacramento City Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy. This month, Sandy steps down after 12 years serving on the council.

I had never had a conversation with Sandy before she called me seven years ago at our Midtown Sacramento location. She had heard that we were outgrowing our rented space, so she called, urging us to think of moving to her district. She suggested that we get together. I said sure, thinking maybe we’d get together some time in the next few weeks.

It turned out that she was thinking about meeting that very afternoon. And later that day, Sandy made her pitch: The boulevard was coming back, it was close to downtown, it was affordable and, as opposed to other city neighborhoods, there were empty buildings that were the right size.

Sitting in my office in Midtown with crummy parking and increasing rent but great restaurants and vibe, I was not immediately sold on the boulevard. But I was quickly sold on Sandy. She convinced me that she would move heaven and Earth to get us settled in her district. And frankly, she did.

The building that made the most sense for us was the long-empty, previously mentioned Globe supermarket building. But there were plenty of problems. Competing buyers, environmental questions, parcels that had to be merged and the country’s financial meltdown during our expected closing, which caused our financing to blow up more than once—these were only some of the difficulties that had to be overcome.

During the whole process, Sandy was there. She was the force that kept things moving, one setback after another. She did not give up. The end result was that we became the happy owners of a green building on a budget.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Sandy for her extreme dedication, her energy and her obvious love for her district. I will miss working with her, and we, and many in our neighborhood, owe her a huge debt of gratitude for the many improvements that she brought to our district. Because of her, we work in a neighborhood that is coming back, in style.

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About the Author

Jeff vonKaenel
Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno.