Preserving the Legacy of the Railyards Central Shops

Preserving the Legacy of the Railyards Central Shops

August 21, 2017 | By The Railyards


The Railyards has an important role to play as the City of Sacramento seeks to become the most livable city in America. The scale and location of the Railyards development provides an unprecedented opportunity to create a dynamic and iconic urban environment that celebrates the historic significance of the area while meeting the future needs of residents and visitors.

The Railyards development will feature five distinct districts, each with its own identity and character. Among these districts, the Central Shops District will be a primary destination for the Railyards, becoming a mixed-use district that offers shopping, entertainment, dining, and cultural amenities within the area’s historic center.

The Central Shops - a Significant Past

The Southern Pacific Railroad Central Shops were once a hub of economic activity and innovation. Established in 1862, the Central Shops were the largest industrial complex west of the Rocky Mountains. Thousands of men and women clocked in and out of the complex; for 80 years the Central Shops were the largest single employer in the Central Valley. One in every four workers in Sacramento were employed at the Central Shops and the City of Sacramento and many of its neighborhoods were shaped by the railroads.

Over time, many of the Central Shops buildings and structures were demolished. Today, only a handful of buildings remain.

These historic buildings have a storied past, but an even brighter future that lies ahead.

These eight historic railyards buildings from the original Central Pacific Railroad Yard will be adaptively reused as the centerpiece for the Central Shops District. The Central Shops District will include unique plazas and hardscaped areas that will be become attractive venues such as public markets and cafes.

Two of these buildings, the Boiler Shop and Erecting Shop, will become the new Railroad Technology Museum. The Railroad Technology Museum will be a vibrant and interactive museum complex that highlights Sacramento’s incredible railroad heritage and explores the future of transportation technology.

Preserving the Legacy of the Central Shops in the Railyards

Adapting the historic buildings in the Central Shops will be done according to existing standards for historic properties that ensure preservation of the character-defining features of this extremely significant historical resource.

Among these standards are requirements that the historic character of a property be retained and preserved. Distinctive materials, features, finishes and construction techniques and craftsmanship will be preserved.

New buildings, streetscapes, and plazas built around the Central Shops buildings will incorporate contemporary versions of elements used in the historic shop buildings, such as materials, window detailing, and building ornaments. Newly constructed buildings surrounding the historic Central Shop buildings will complement the design and scale of the existing buildings.

To bring the Central Shops back to life in a way that preserves the original buildings and also allows for adaptive reuse, the Railyards has turned to a design team with a track record for doing just that; BCV Architects.

BCV Architects are responsible for the complete revitalization of San Francisco’s Ferry Building, another piece of rich California history. By leveraging the expertise of BCV Architects, this project will keep the historically-rich buildings as the frame and container for the community-enriching shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. This style highlights the “new growth from old roots” mentality that characterizes the Sacramento culture and spirit.

Endless Possibilities

Sacramento is home to endless entertainment opportunities.

With delicious food and drink, beautiful music, numerous museums, performing arts shows, film festivals, and sports teams, Sacramento is as culturally diverse as the limitless entertainment it offers.

As a city with a proud farm-to-fork culture, Sacramento is a delight to both resident and visiting epicureans. With its long history of growing, consuming, and selling a wide variety of agricultural goods, Sacramento is a natural complement to the many different food styles, including high-end restaurants, local favorites, and even food trucks. In addition to food, Sacramento has an excellent bar scene as well. Whether you are looking to find a sports pub, a speakeasy with a lounge atmosphere, a relaxing cantina, or a energetic nightclub, Sacramento has options for you.

The Central Shops District will be a hub for entertainment and culture within Sacramento.

Food and drink will not be the only entertainment options in The Central Shops District. There will be a dynamic mix of uses, which may include museums, retail stores, cafes, and even music or film venues. With the sheer variety of things to do in the area, the Railyards will be a fantastic place to meet new friends and relax with old ones.

The Central Shops Historic District portion of the Railyards will be become an iconic Sacramento destination. Residents and visitors will come to experience the historic, cultural, and entertainment amenities and the result will be a vibrant, thriving area that perfectly celebrates Sacramento’s past and future.

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