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Business Journal: Grocery Outlet Opens In North Sacramento, Country Club Plaza Adding New Stores, NEO Escape Rooms Wins Calling All Dreamers

Dennis McCoy / Sacramento Business Journal

Sacramento City Councilman Allen Warren tells the Sacramento Business Journal that he hopes a new Grocery Outlet triggers other new developments on Del Paso Boulevard.

Dennis McCoy / Sacramento Business Journal

City Leaders Hope New Store Will Revitalize North Sacramento

Grocery Outlet opened a store in North Sacramento this week. It's on Del Paso Boulevard near Rio Linda Boulevard and it's the first new grocery store in that district in half-a-century. The Sacramento Business Journal's Digital Editor Sonya Sorich says the city is hoping the business will be a catalyst for revitalizing an area that's seen a lot of blight over the years.

"This store took quite some time to become a reality," says Sorich. "But City Councilman Allen Warren, who represents North Sacramento, says now that the store is open, it could bring more foot traffic and life to Del Paso Boulevard."

The new store isn't too far from downtown Sacramento, and the city is hoping it could eventually attract new housing, retail and entertainment.

Country Club Plaza Gradually Adding More Stores 

It looks like one of Sacramento's oldest shopping centers — Country Club Plaza at Watt and El Camino avenues — is starting to see renewed vigor after years of slumping sales and empty store space. Sorich says it's been under new ownership for a few years now and has gradually been adding more tenants.

"Just this week two new additions were announced for the retail center," says Sorich. "Those include a boba tea shop and Rainbow Shops, which is a women's clothing retailer. Rainbow will fill a prominent vacant space that was previously occupied by Office Depot at that center."

Other businesses in the works include: an indoor trampoline park set to open next month; a couple of locally-owned businesses — Luchador Coffee and Flaming Grill Cafe; and a movie theater that's expected to open next year. The shopping center had a major setback in 2009 when Gottschalks went bankrupt and closed its Country Club Plaza store. The center started to come back to life in 2014 when San Francisco-based real estate investment firm EDM Realty acquired it. Since then, the mall has added businesses including WinCo Foods and Planet Fitness.

Emails Show New Details On 301 Capitol Mall High Rise

More details are coming out about the proposed high-rise CalPERS wants to build in downtown Sacramento on the Capitol Mall. The Sacramento Business Journal submitted a Public Records Act request to the city to get more details.

“We reviewed emails between Sacramento city planners,” says Sorich. “Those emails share what appears to be the design narrative for this possible project at 301 Capitol Mall. Most notably, the design narrative refers to the possible project as Sacramento's tallest building.”

“In the past, we've heard that development partners CIM Group and CalPERS envision a project of about 40 stories,” says Sorich “but that exact height isn't described in the design narrative."

That narrative also includes a breakdown of uses within the possible building, such as office, residential, retail and parking space. Developers still haven't filed a formal application for the site. But this latest design narrative shows that the project could move forward, which is encouraging to observers who have been watching this well-known site.

NEO Escape Rooms Wins The 2018 Call All Dreamers Competition

Sacramento’s annual Calling All Dreamers retail business plan competition has a new winner. The contest helps entrepreneurs open a business downtown. The winner is: NEO Escape Rooms.

“We've seen several escape rooms open throughout the Sacramento area, but the entrepreneurs behind this business say there's a void downtown,” says Sorich. “They're still finalizing their location, but hope to open their business next summer. By winning the contest, they'll receive a prize package valued at more than $100,000.”

At escape rooms, participants are locked in a room and must solve puzzles to escape within a designated amount of time, usually an hour. Many people visit escape rooms as a team-building activity. Some people might say these escape rooms are a fad or a trend. Business operators in the industry seem optimistic, however. And with so much of retail shifting online, these kind of businesses appeal to landlords.

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