AKT Development Plans Office High-Rise in Sacramento

Nov. 6--Yet another office tower could sprout in downtown next year.

AKT Development, owner of the Meridian Plaza building at 14th and L streets, last week submitted plans for a sister building, the 24-story Meridian II.

The new tower would sit on the opposite corner of the same block, at the northeast intersection of 15th and K, and would be the third AKT-owned building on the block. The other is the former Pac Bell "switching" site at 1414 K, which is undergoing a complete renovation as office space.

Why even consider another office building when two skyscrapers now under construction on Capitol Mall threaten to blow up downtown's vacancy rate?

"There's a lot of uncertainty about real estate in general and downtown in particular," acknowledges Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis, AKT's president.

But, she says, the several-block area around the original Meridian Plaza forms a particularly appealing "micromarket," in demand by office tenants seeking proximity to the Capitol, walkable access to the rash of new eateries and an address close to other high-end offices.

If there's enough interest by prospective tenants, AKT could start construction by spring, Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis says.

Besides its location, the building offers a couple of special attractions, she says.

It will be the first private-sector tower in the area built to LEED energy-saving standards, she says. (Plans include a "green" wall of plants covering one side of the structure.)

AKT also hopes to get city permission to close off the small alley between 14th and 15th and turn it into a pedestrian plaza and focal point for the company's three buildings.

"We're creating a 'there' there," Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis says of the plaza plans. "We're not just putting up another building."

Copyright (c) 2007, The Sacramento Bee, Calif. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.