Business & Real Estate

‘Hot pot’ restaurant to open at former Land Park Blockbuster site

The former site of a Blockbuster Video store will be home to Shabu Pub, an Asian ‘hot pot’ restaurant.
The former site of a Blockbuster Video store will be home to Shabu Pub, an Asian ‘hot pot’ restaurant. Bob Shallit

An Asian restaurant is going into the long-vacant Blockbuster video site across from William Land Park – one of possibly three new eating venues at the same corner.

Besides Shabu Pub, which is to open in mid-July in part of the Blockbuster space at 4400 Freeport Blvd., a Mexican restaurant is opening later this year right behind it at the former site of Ford’s Real Burgers, which closed in 2012.

In addition, the operators of a dessert place are in talks to take over a 1,500-square-foot portion of the Blockbuster location not being used by Shabu, said Jason Read, part of a CBRE brokerage team that negotiated the various lease deals.

Kevin Vong, general manager of Shabu, described the place as an “all-you-can-eat, hot pot” restaurant where diners select a mix of meats and vegetables and boil them in broth at their own tables.

The ownership group also runs a sushi restaurant in the region, Vong said.

An application for a Type 41 license to sell beer and wine on the premises has been filed with the state.

The Blockbuster store closed several years ago after its parent company filed for bankruptcy protection amid competition from Netflix and others.

Since then, according to Read, numerous businesspeople have expressed interest in the site, the largest space in the Sutterville Square strip center that includes Starbucks, Great Clips, Robeks Juice and Papa Murphy’s Pizza outlets among its tenants.

“But the challenge was getting somebody to take all 5,000 square feet,” he said. “There aren’t a lot of 5,000-square-foot tenants in the market.”

Shabu will take about 3,500 feet of the space.

The lease for the Mexican restaurant was signed in recent months and the operation should open in the fall, said a spokesman for Rohenco Inc., the strip center’s property manger. He described the operation as a family-run business serving “authentic Mexican food.”

That location, fronting Sutterville Road, was the longtime home of Ford’s, a restaurant that opened in 1987 and was often included on “best” lists of local burger spots.

Its closure was linked to declining sales and a lawsuit demanding it comply with requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Office makeover

A remarkable transformation is underway at one of the ugly ducklings of Sacramento real estate.

The fortresslike complex of buildings at 444 N. Third St. – just off Richards Boulevard in the emerging River District – was acquired late last year by a partnership of Ravel Rasmussen Properties and Separovich/Domich Real Estate Development.

“It was absolutely one of the worst buildings I’ve ever seen,” said Scott Rasmussen, a principal with Ravel Rasmussen.

It had been mostly vacant for about five years and the interior space was “a rat maze of walls and corridors” with low-hanging T-bar ceilings, Rasmussen said.

The buyers, who paid about $3 million for the 80,000-square foot complex, have gutted the interior and are starting a massive remodel that Rasmussen estimated could cost as much as $11 million.

The new office space will have high ceilings and an open floor plan, brand-new mechanical systems and energy-efficient lighting. Two interior courtyards also are being rehabbed in a process that will tie together the four buildings in the complex and add about 10,000 square feet of office space, Rasmussen said.

As for the drab concrete exterior, it’s being modernized with the addition of new dual-pane windows, steel accents and sandstone elements,

“It’s a complete transformation, a complete repositioning, of a 32-year-old property,” Rasmussen said.

The complex should be ready for occupancy in six to 12 months, Rasmussen said, and lease talks already are underway with multiple potential tenants, including the state.

“We have more than two groups looking at taking the entire building,” he said.