North Natomas is one step closer to getting a new shopping area that its developer is billing as “a little nicer” than others nearby, but which is being protested by a neighboring retail center.
The Sacramento City Council on Thursday approved a plan to rezone a 12.5-acre parcel at Truxel Road and Gateway Park Boulevard from office space or an employment center and instead allow a shopping center at the infill site.
But Mike Daniszewski, a representative for the nearby Promenade shopping center, said his client opposes the project and was not properly notified about its plans. Daniszewski said building more retail space in the area would make it hard for existing locations to find tenants. He said a city staff report on the project underreported vacancy rates at The Promenade. While the staff report said vacancy at the center was around 5 percent, Daniszewski said it was 17 percent.
“We do not feel that there is ample demand necessary to support this project,” he told the council, adding that the proposed retail center could “further dilute the consumer power in the North Natomas area.”
Despite the opposition, the council approved the proposal unanimously.
Councilwoman Angelique Ashby, who represents the area where the project is planned, said she would attempt to help The Promenade but that she believed the proposed shopping center was a “very different project,” than The Promenade and she was “proud to put my stamp of approval” on it.
The plans approved by the council call for a 115,960-square-foot retail center to be built between two existing retail centers, Natomas Marketplace to the southwest and The Promenade to the northeast. Those complexes house retailers including Walmart, Regal Cinemas, Target and Old Navy.
The new site would encompass 10 buildings, ranging in size from 6,000 square feet to 28,900 square feet.
Property developer Ethan Conrad said construction could begin in spring and be completed by 2018. Conrad said he is already in talks with tenants but would not name specific retailers because no deals have been finalized.
Conrad said he expected larger tenants to include an upscale grocer along the lines of a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. A “home products” retailer is also interested, he said. The location will include restaurants and smaller retailers, as well as outdoor space for people to gather.
The project has faced little if any opposition from residential neighbors, and no community members spoke against it Thursday.
Conrad owns more than 200 properties in the region and has made notable purchases this year.
In August, his company, Ethan Conrad Properties, purchased La Borgata Shopping Center in El Dorado Hills. In December, he bought One Capital Center, a six-story office building that is one of the most prominent structures in Rancho Cordova. Also in December, he closed on the Yuba Sutter Mall, which occupies a city block in Yuba City and is the only regional mall within 35 miles.
Conrad purchased the North Natomas property, once owned by developer Abe Alizadeh and his company Kobra Properties, after Alizadeh filed for bankruptcy protection and his properties went into foreclosure.
Alizadeh had planned to develop an office park, but a retail market demand study commissioned by Ethan Conrad Properties found that the demand for retail space in Natomas is higher than for office space.