Project Elevate negotiations collapse, Hines Interests terminates agreement with Elk Grove

With an extensive media blitz one year ago, the city of Elk Grove announced it had selected an internationally renown developer to formulate plans for the city's much-hyped Project Elevate. The project, proposed for a 20-acre taxpayer-owned parcel on Elk Grove Boulevard, is meant to be a mixed-use development including high-end shopping, dining, office, and lodging amenities.

One year later, the reports from the public relations department, if there were to be any, would not paint such a glowing picture.  

When the six-month exclusive negotiation agreement (ENA) with Houston-based Hines Interest was announced and approved by the Elk Grove City Council last August, the city's public relations was able to create widespread coverage of the agreement.

However, in a report buried on the city's website, it was revealed by Elk Grove city manager Jason Behrmann the negotiations with Hines were terminated. Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen, the city council, Berhmann, and economic development director Darrell Doan have not spoken publicly about the collapse or how they intend to proceed with the much-hyped mixed-use area.  

During his public administrative report for the May 24 meeting, Behrmann offered a rosy summary of activities. However, his report on the collapse of negotiations was not mentioned during his presentation, as seen in the video below. 

Behrmann's written report said Hines notified the city on May 15, 2023, of the termination of the ENA. The report said, "Hines and the city were unable to come to terms on proceeding with the development within the timeframe the city desires and in a manner that preserves the vision for the site."

Not surprisingly, since the obscured Hines' negotiations collapse, the Elk Grove Mayor, city council, and city public executives have pivoted their attention and are hyping Elk Grove's Old Town special planning area. Singh-Allen said the district could become like San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter, and there has been a unified effort to rebrand the district as Historic Downtown Elk Grove.

When contacted about the collapse, the city referred to Behrmann's written report not readily visible to the public. On the city's website, the project is described as follows:

"The objective of the project is to elevate the level of retail, dining, and entertainment amenities in the City, while at the same time developing a site with enhanced design elements that promote pedestrian activity and include central, public gathering spaces. For these reasons, the City refers to this as Project Elevate."

Following last August's agreement, in a press release, Doan said, "The goal of Project Elevate is to bring a mid-town look and feel to Elk Grove with modern architecture, five to seven-story buildings, a vertically integrated mix of uses, and dynamic public spaces."

For now, the dreams of five to seven-story buildings intended for Project Elevate will not be erected.              

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