Downtown Sacramento plaza renamed to honor affordable housing developer

The Sacramento City Council on Tuesday adopted a resolution to rename Saint Rose of Lima Park on 7th and K streets after late local housing developer Ali Youssefi.

Youssefi passed away in March 2018 at the age of 35. He built his renown in Sacramento through his innovative work on affordable and mixed-income housing projects such as the Warehouse Artists Lofts on R Street. He also played a significant role in the redevelopment of the 700 and 800 blocks of K Street.

youssefiThe park, at 705 K St., now will be known as Ali Youssefi Square. The name will “inspire a new generation of people to know that opportunity in Sacramento is boundless,” said Councilmember Steve Hansen, whose district includes downtown.

Saint Rose of Lima Park originally was named for a nearby Catholic Church that was built in the mid-1800s. The property was owned and managed by the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency until 2012 when it was transferred to the City. Rebuilt as a plaza, it hosts an annual holiday ice skating rink each winter.

Youssefi was born in Sacramento and attended Jesuit High School. After graduating from Dartmouth University in New Hampshire, he returned to the West Coast and ultimately began working with his father Cyrus Youssefi, founder of CFY Development.

Sharing the belief that mixed-income residential development is the best way to combat the affordable housing crisis, the two partnered on several forward-thinking projects throughout the city.

Ali Youssefi was married in June 2017 and diagnosed with stomach cancer one month later. He told The Sacramento Bee in October 2017 that “if we embrace the idea of building mixed-income neighborhoods, Sacramento will be an even more diverse and integrated city than it is today.”

“He was a young man with a great vision … a big brain and an even bigger heart,” Mayor Darrell Steinberg said in his closing remarks.

A new sign will be installed to reflect the plaza’s renaming. A smaller plaque will be installed adjacent to the new sign to honor the historical significance of the Saint Rose of Lima church.

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