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Rocklin officials count on new shopping centers to boost city sales tax

Published: Sunday, Sep. 29, 2013 - 8:32 pm

Two major shopping centers under construction in Rocklin will help the city keep more of the sales-tax dollars that have been flowing into the coffers of nearby municipalities, especially Roseville.

The projects straddle Interstate 80 at Sierra College Boulevard. To the south is the 490,000-square-foot Rocklin Crossings, anchored by a Walmart. To the north is the 380,000-square-foot Rocklin Commons, anchored by a Target store. Rocklin Crossings is expected to open in the fall, with Rocklin Commons scheduled to open in the spring.

When asked about the need for more shopping choices within Rocklin, Mayor Diana Ruslin took the opportunity to talk up the existing business community.

“We do have business here,” Ruslin said, after a visit to the Apple Store in Roseville got her phone working again following an upgrade snafu. “Just because we don’t have a big mall doesn’t mean we don’t have great businesses.”

She cited Palo Alto-based electric car maker Tesla opening a service center on Granite Drive in Rocklin.

Subjective assessments aside, the numbers and anecdotal experience suggest a need for more retail in Rocklin. The city takes in more sales-tax revenue than its neighbors in the home furnishing and sporting goods retail sectors, but has a significant gap in the electronics, restaurant liquor, family apparel, department stores, lumber/building materials and discount department store sectors, according to a 2012 analysis prepared by a city consultant. The study found a discount department store gap of $683,000.

Roseville takes in $764 in sales-tax revenue for every 100 residents, but that figure is $293 for Rocklin – comparable to the city of Sacramento, which takes in $295 per 100 residents, according the state figures.

“I’m always going into Roseville for retail options for kids. I don’t think Rocklin has anything like that,” said Allison Carolan, a mother of three who lives in the Whitney Oaks area of Rocklin. The Roseville Galleria and Fountains are the prime destinations. She said she and her husband knew when they moved to her childhood home that there were few nearby shopping options, but they decided the move was worth it because of the schools.

Susan Shelton-Wilson said she would love to support her city more.

“We are actually thrilled there is going to be the brand-new Walmart,” said Shelton-Wilson. “We are all about keeping tax dollars in Rocklin, if we can.”

Karen Garner, an economic development manager for the city, was bullish on the new shopping centers, saying they’ll benefit residents and bring in revenue from Interstate 80 travelers.

“It will be significant,” Garner said. “This will definitely bolster our sales tax.”

While the new strip mall shopping centers are underway, Rocklin officials would like to steer future development toward the city’s relatively blank canvas of a downtown. Ruslin said the city would like to attract unique businesses and restaurants to the city. City Manager Ricky Horst envisions a historic district with coffee, antique and craft shops around the Big Gun Quarry and the nearby Quinn Quarry.

But such development is years away and will require the right draw to shake up shopping patterns.

“I feel like we are lucky to have the Fountains and the Galleria right down the road,” Carolan said. “I love that area in Roseville. I’m there a lot.”

Call The Bee’s Ed Fletcher, (916) 321-1269. Follow him on Twitter @NewsFletch

Read more articles by Ed Fletcher

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