Business & Real Estate

Raley’s shopping center on historic Capital Nursery site faces vote Tuesday

A conceptual drawing of retail space at the proposed Raley’s shopping center on Freeport Boulevard.
A conceptual drawing of retail space at the proposed Raley’s shopping center on Freeport Boulevard.

Get ready to say goodbye to the last vestiges of the beloved original Capital Nursery on Freeport Boulevard, now an empty shell with an occasional bloom of spring morning glories reminding passers-by of its history.

On Tuesday, the Sacramento City Council will likely approve demolition of the structure to make way for a new Raley’s grocery store, which will relocate from its current spot a few blocks to the south. Capital Nursery opened its popular plant shop in 1931, while Raley’s has operated out of its current location since 1958. Capitol closed and sold the land to Raley’s in 2012.

“This is a huge investment on behalf of Raley’s but also for the community. It helps to reposition Freeport Boulevard as a revival of the commercial corridor,” said Councilman Steve Hansen, who represents the South Land Park neighborhood next to the former nursery property. Hansen said he thinks the project could spur fresh development along the stretch and serve as a catalyst for economic investment in the area.

The proposed plan includes a 55,000-square-foot grocery store that has two stories in some parts. It sits on a 10-acre parcel with six additional commercial tenants. There will be outdoor courtyard seating, and the other commercial spots will likely be a mix of restaurants and retail.

The new store will be slightly smaller than the old location, said Raley’s spokeswoman Chelsea Minor. It will have fewer non-grocery items but will include more prepared foods, especially ones that appeal to health-conscious shoppers, like “more quinoa salads, or lentil options,” she said.

“Some of our local stores even have chefs in them now,” said Minor.

Minor said the design of the complex with an interior courtyard with tables is “meant to attract a lot more activity that brings people together.”

She said that trends show people are grocery shopping more often, up to two or three times a week, rather than doing a “big shop,” and that the prepared foods and no-rush environment are a response to that.

Along with removing the nursery, two houses adjoining the property on Wentworth Avenue will also be demolished.

A new traffic signal to improve pedestrian and bike safety will be installed on Freeport at Meer Way, and the site will have 457 parking spots and 68 bike slots.

The plan addresses some of the concerns of the neighboring residential area. The project will include a 12-foot wall between the commercial lot and nearby South Land Park homes, as well as signage letting delivery truck drivers know that their engines can’t idle for more than 5 minutes and efforts to dampen noise from compressors and other equipment.

But there aren’t any restrictions on hours the grocery store can receive deliveries from vendors, a proposal Raley’s argued it could not enforce.

Anita Chabria: 916-321-1049, @chabriaa

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