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Sacramento Waterfront Idea Makers Program

Revitalizing Sacramento's Urban Waterfront

To enhance the Old Sacramento Waterfront, the City of Sacramento is announcing Waterfront Idea Makers, an initiative to develop original design concepts that boldly reimagine the historic district and its riverfront location.

The City is seeking firms or teams to participate in a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process. Up to five participants then will be selected to generate imaginative concepts that enhance the area’s historic ambiance, aesthetic appeal, visitor experience and connectivity to the City.

Participants will receive $10,000 each to design their concepts. They also will be eligible for a $5,000 “People Choice” award determined through a popular vote. The City, with input from residents and other stakeholders, ultimately will choose among the design concepts and select projects to implement. Participants will be invited to continue working with the City as their designs are brought to reality.

The City recently launched a rebranding effort for the Old Sacramento Waterfront and completed an $8 million renovation of its Embarcadero boardwalk.

RFQ applications must be submitted to the City by 4 p.m. (PST) Nov. 7, 2018. The City will announce selected participants on Dec. 10, 2018. Interested firms can download background materials and RFQ details.


In 2017, Mayor Darrell Steinberg, District 4 Vice Mayor Steve Hansen and City Manager Howard Chan requested a plan to identify targets of opportunity to enhance the waterfront as a destination that would attract greater visitation, improve the region’s quality of life and encourage mixed-use urban development.

City staff subsequently offered a strategy to leverage the City’s existing waterfront assets by redeveloping Old Sacramento into an entertainment district within a historic setting, creating a premiere waterfront destination.

That strategy focused on organizational changes to district operations and improvements to City and State-owned waterfront properties. The City recently completed an $8 million renovation of the waterfront Embarcadero boardwalk and a rebranding program and now seeks to leverage that work through this program to reimagine and reenergize the Old Sacramento Waterfront.
The Waterfront Ideas Makers program is an outgrowth of these activities.

Old Sacramento Waterfront, a 28-acre national registered landmark and state historic park, preserves an 1870 riverside scene, complete with sailing vessels, paddle wheelers, cobblestone streets, boardwalks and many other historic elements. Old Sacramento Waterfront is home to numerous special events throughout the year, including the world-renowned Sacramento Jazz Jubilee which attracts more than 300,000 visitors each Memorial Day Weekend.