Sacramento, CA
Installation Size 190,000 SF
Engineered By BKF Engineers, Bardis Homes
Installed By California Pavers

The Mill at Broadway

Project Specs
Location  Sacramento, CA Installation Size 190,000 SF Engineered By BKF Engineers, Bardis Homes Installed By California Pavers

Permeable Pavers Create Old-World Aesthetic as Part of Modern Drainage Solution


When completed, The Mill at Broadway will comprise about 1,000 homes on a 30-acre site that was once home to a century-old sawmill. The development features a mix of condos, a six-unit elevator building and detached single-family homes. The community also features a 4-acre park, a 11,000 sq. ft. community resource center, and a 2.5-acre urban farm and market operated in conjunction with the City of Sacramento.

The Challenge

Developers needed a stormwater management plan that would make efficient use of the real estate and avoid burdening the city’s combined stormwater and sewer system. Planners looked at several permeable road systems, such as pervious concrete pavement, but were unhappy with the aesthetics and maintenance needs of many pervious pavement options. “Some of those systems require regular maintenance (such as by a vacuum truck) and would need to be completely torn up and reinstalled if they were to clog,” explains Rachel Bardis, co-owner of Bardis Homes, general contractor for the project.

The Solution

The community’s driveways and roadways were constructed with Belgard’s Eco Dublin and Aqua Roc permeable interlocking concrete pavers, which lend an historic Sacramento aesthetic while addressing the stormwater management needs.

“We worked with engineers to design the streets so they’d be an alternative to an above-ground detention basin on the site,” explains Rachel Bardis, co-owner of Bardis Homes, general contractor on the project. “In the event of a 200-year flood, the system can hold back water from the site to keep it from burdening the city’s combined stormwater and sewer system.”

“This type of internal road system isn’t used often in the City,” adds Jim McCurdy, vice president of BKF Engineers, who designed the project’s roads. “This is one of the first projects I’ve seen where the entirety of the road system is this type of material. It’s a great way to achieve the retention criteria we needed.”

The system relies on rock in a 40 percent void ratio at a depth ranging from 18 to 36 inches to retain stormwater. Below the rock layer is a perforated pipe and liner so the water will eventually drain away. To make sure the water gets to the basin, the Belgard pavers were installed as the road service with one-quarter by 10 stone compacted between them to allow for permeability. The paver selections provided designers the opportunity to mimic Sacramento’s historic cobblestone streets while also giving The Mill at Broadway what Bardis describes as “a more high-end look.” For the roads, the pavers were tumbled for a more rustic look.

“The developer was looking for a more attractive alternative to the usual painted crosswalks, so we also used a paver solution for this. The color and pattern were simply changed at the crosswalks. We really took the versatility of the pavers and ran with it,” says Bardis. She adds that the pavers also help provide safety by slowing traffic through the neighborhood. “Psychologically, pavers are a slowing mechanism. While they’re not bumpy and there’s no physical need to drive slower, people see them and tend to slow down.”

The Result

“The response we’ve gotten to the paved roads has been really positive. People love them, from the city planners and developers to the residents. They feel like it’s adds to the upscale design of the community.” – RACHEL BARDIS / CO-OWNER OF BARDIS HOMES

Initially, the only reservation Bardis Homes had about using permeable pavers was the anticipated installation time, estimated to take up to three weeks to install each city block by hand. However, installation contractor California Pavers used an Optimas mechanical paver installer to lay large sections at a time, completing a city block in as little as four days with the help of prep work done by the factory.

“Belgard hand-stacked the pavers in the designated pattern on the pallet at the factory, tumbling those designated for the road first. On site, the machine picks up a whole cube of patterned pavers from the pallet and puts it in place. Our crew then goes through and laces the sections together and completes the install,” says Brian Camper, owner of California Pavers.