The large, Byzantine-style church, which is the centerpiece of the site, will remain standing while other structures will be replaced.
A plan to build a new church on a 10-acre site in South Natomas fell short in 1993 and that property was subsequently sold four years later.
Through that sale, the property’s former owner, Angelo Tsakopoulos, gifted the church $1.1 million, which was used to purchase the remainder of the block at the Alhambra Boulevard site, with the exception of an area with a small building at the northwest corner of Alhambra Boulevard and G Street. Prior to that latter land acquisition, the church owned half the block.
At a later time, for many years, members were split between the options of demolishing the present church building and constructing a new church in its place or building a new church on an 8-acre site in the 48-acre McKinley Village development, just east of the current church.
In speaking about the McKinley Village site, Sam Manolakas, capital campaign chairperson of the present project, said, “So, you know, in 2007, the economy just kind of fell out and the church was wondering, ‘Well, gosh, are we ever going to be able to build over in McKinley Village?’ And, you know, we decided to stay where we’re at and Angelo Tsakopoulos said, ‘I’ll give you the proceeds from that sale in McKinley Village.’ So, he’s doing that for us. (Tsakopoulos) has been very kind to the church. He’s been a great benefactor of Annunciation.”
Plans for the present church campus project were developed in 2011.
According to a document provided by the church, those plans call for an 18,000 square foot hall, new administration and education buildings, a group courtyard and a parking area with nearly 300 percent more spaces than the present parking lot.
In 2012, the city council approved the church’s plans for the site, as well as the church’s petition to abandon the alley in the center of the parcel.
During the following year, a special parish assembly approved the design and development plans of the building committee.
With an enthusiastic tone to his voice, Manolakas shared details about the project.
“So, we’ve been hard at this for (several) years now,” Manolakas said. “And when I say hard at this, I mean (in 2007) we voted as a parish to stay where we’re at, to keep our existing church, to build a new family center-hall and a new administration building, which would house all the educational rooms and conference rooms, as well.
“We’re going to have a Monday through Friday preschool at the site. It is already existing in our current site. I don’t know the number of children that they have there, but I think it’s around 50 to 60.
“Currently, our church is on the (southwest) corner of F (Street) and Alhambra (Boulevard) and to the south of it is our existing hall, and our existing hall, I think is about 5,000 or 6,000 square feet.
“Now, what’s going to happen is all the construction is going to be taking place south of the alley or to the left of the alley. So, we’re going to be able to utilize all of our current facilities while construction is going on.
“Eventually, what will happen is we’ll tear down our existing hall and we’ll tear down our existing administration building, which is going to create more parking for the church, as well as (the aforementioned) courtyard between the church and the hall.”
“Comstock Johnson is actually the architect of record (and) Lionakis has done some of the initial layout and design and planning of the project.
“Wood Rogers is doing all the civil engineering for us and Tim Crush is also a parishioner, (and) he’s the civil engineer at Wood Rogers. So, they’ve given us quite a bit of in-kind donations on their time.”
Manolakas added that the addition of new buildings at the present East Sacramento campus makes economical sense.
“The parish is ready,” Manolakas said. “Our buildings have really outlived their useful lives. Our current hall is well over 50 years old, the administration building is well over 50 years old and the maintenance and upkeep of the old buildings has just put a burden on the church.”
But certainly to save money in the future, the project itself will cost plenty – $10 million to be specific.
In regard to funding for the project, Manolakas said, “We’ve done fundraising over the years for these different projects that we were going to be moving into, and so from all those other projects that we’ve done, we have about $3 million in the bank.
“Our current fundraising efforts, we’re right at about $4.2 million during the silent phase of the capital campaign. And so, now we’re at about ($3) million that we still need to raise.
“The hopeful plan is that we will get a loan, so we can complete the construction of this project. The construction of this project is about a 12-month build-out. We’re hopeful that we’ll get our building permit from the city of Sacramento by the end of January.
“We still have to go to the parish and get approval for the loan and get the loan, so we’re hopefully going to break (ground) around March or April of this year.”
Manolakas mentioned that it was an important decision for the church to remain in East Sacramento.
“I think it’s important that we’re staying where we’re at,” Manolakas said. “We have got one of the premier locations in East Sacramento right across from McKinley Park. The venue is going to be fantastic, the new buildings will be a wonderful addition to East Sacramento and the architecture and the finishes that we’re using on the buildings are going to be encased in kind of in the same flavor of what East Sacramento represents.
Hopefully we’ll be talking in March or April of next year and saying, please come and join us for our grand opening.”