Cathie Anderson

May 22, 2014

Former Crepe Escape building in Land Park draws lots of potential tenants

Landlord Jeffrey Tu has begun showing the fire-damaged interior of the former Crepe Escape, 3445 Freeport Blvd. in Sacramento, to potential tenants....A team of MBA students at Sacramento State devise a business strategy that knocks out 31 competitors in an international competition....LPAS Architecture + Design is embracing a modified tilt-up construction design to reduce the costs of projects such as the Tehama County Courthouse in Red Bluff.

Cathie Anderson

Insights into the people who shape Sacramento’s business landscape

Landlord Jeffrey Tu has begun showing the fire-damaged interior of the former Crepe Escape restaurant in Sacramento’s Land Park area to potential tenants.

Tu recently put up a for-lease sign at the building, and he’s received a lot of interest. Most queries are coming from individuals who want to open a restaurant, he said, though he wouldn’t name names. Tu said he would have preferred to show the building after receiving the bulk of an insurance settlement, but he decided to act after getting several Sacramento city citations for the boarded-up building at 3445 Freeport Blvd.

“We just retained a new attorney to handle the insurance stuff. Can you believe it?” said Tu, a Bay Area resident who was in town Wednesday to meet with a prospective tenant.

An April 29, 2013, arson fire shut down Crepe Escape, but Tu told me that he had received a judgment allowing him to evict his tenant just days before. Tu said he’s had to confer with attorneys in several different specialties because he’s faced one roadblock after another on the Freeport property.

“When you do the eviction, you have an eviction attorney,” he said. “When you do a civil action, you have a civil attorney. …You don’t know how much money and effort it takes.”

Several Land Park residents have told me that they feel the boarded-up property is deterring homebuyers and investors. Kenneth Mennemeier, president of the Land Park Community Association, said: “We’re not content or happy with the current state of the building. …We’d be eager to see that property restored and a vibrant business be part of the fabric of the neighborhood.”

Legal challenge for LPAS

Sacramento’s LPAS Architecture + Design is embracing a modified tilt-up construction design to reduce the costs of projects such as the Tehama County Courthouse in Red Bluff.

“The courts, in general, have been under a lot of scrutiny to build more effectively and efficiently with the funds they have available to them, so our project was identified to be a demonstration project,” said Curtis Owyang, the director of design at LPAS.

In tilt-up construction, walls, columns and other concrete elements are formed horizontally and, in a modern equivalent of barn-raising, are then tilted up and into position after they have cured. Early tilt-up construction produced a range of boxy-looking warehouses, but new design techniques have expanded the shape and appearance of buildings. Tilt-up is more affordable than steel construction for buildings larger than 50,000 square feet. At that point, the lower price of concrete begins to offset such costs as renting a crane to raise the walls.

The construction budget for the Tehama County Courthouse is $32 million. The two-story structure, which will include five courtrooms, is scheduled to begin construction in December. Although officials with the state Administrative Office of the Courts have evaluated the cost of the project “umpteen times,” Owyang said, they didn’t compromise on safety and sightlines. They asked LPAS to create a life-size mockup of the courtroom in a McClellan Park warehouse so that judges could evaluate the design.

“We had to make sure that there are sight lines across the entire court,” Owyang said. “Sometimes we adjusted things by inches, but it was a significant improvement in functionality. We need to make sure the bailiff is situated in a position to have immediate access to the witness box or to the defendants when they’re at the attorneys’ table. We control carefully how the defendants are brought in and let out of the courtroom.”


A team of MBA students at Sacramento State devised a business strategy with a terrific return on investment: a winning entry in the International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition.

The contest required six graduate students – Hao Dang, Nowar Kayali, Jason Vu, Mike Fultz, Eugene Olson and Brandon Tong – to take the reins of a simulated, publicly held company and make key decisions in areas such as production, prices, product development and human resources. They juggled their studies along with the contest, which began in February. At first, the team was given a week to problem-solve each step, but as time wore on, they had increasingly less time – four days, two days, and then every two hours.

“We were aggressive after we made a decision,” Kayali said, “but at the same time, we really assessed the risk and plugged all the numbers into our financial statements, just to see whether our decisions were viable and wouldn’t hurt the company.”

The competition started with 32 teams and culminated with a final showdown April 25-27 for four finalists at California State University, Long Beach. The Sac State team won best overall performance and runner-up for best financial reports. An undergraduate team of Hornets – Andrew Cross, Max Sinitsa, Nancy Chan, Julie Francesconi, Tad Ochwat and Kelly Schofield – won first place in the reports category and came in as a runner-up for their overall performance.

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