Bob Shallit

CircusTrix jumps into local trampoline market

Trampolines, some of them adjacent to banked walls, are still the mainstay at CircusTrix parks.
Trampolines, some of them adjacent to banked walls, are still the mainstay at CircusTrix parks. CircusTrix

A Utah company has big plans to bring a bounce to the region’s indoor recreation business.

CircusTrix, a fast-growing operator of trampoline parks, has just signed a lease to take 30,000 square feet of space in the former Breuners building near the Madison Avenue exit off Interstate 80 and intends to have its park, dubbed MojoDojo, open by July.

The Sacramento County business will compete with several existing local trampoline centers, including Sky Zone in Rocklin and Sky High Sports in Rancho Cordova.

But CircusTrix CEO Case Lawrence said he thinks his center will stand out by offering myriad new options for “aerial gymnastics,” including a challenging obstacle course modeled on the popular “American Ninja Warrior” TV show, parkour-type walls that enable participants to do “Matrix”-style flips, a flying trapeze and tightropes suspended over foam pits. Also available: aerial silk acrobatics popularized by Cirque du Soleil.

“We don’t even call these trampoline parks,” Lawrence said of the industry evolution in recent years from oversized bounce houses to facilities more identified with extreme sports.

“It’s kind of a mash-up of fitness, entertainment, pop culture and socializing,” he said of the attraction of parks from CircusTrix and others.

Lawrence, 43, was working as a commercial real estate broker in Fresno when the recession hit. He started looking for other opportunities and was impressed after taking his kids to a trampoline center at San Francisco’s Presidio.

He opened his first center, SkyWalk, near Fresno and followed up with one in Durham, N.C., near Duke University, where he attended law school.

The company now has 30 centers in 17 states and four countries, and thanks to a $20 million cash infusion from a Bay Area private equity firm, it’s opening another 12 this year, with the goal of having 100 parks in operation within five years.

The centers appeal to people of all ages but mainly target teens and young adults who might otherwise be playing video games at home, Lawrence said. They’re drawn to the social aspects of the experience as well as the daunting physical challenges it offers.

“You have to provide this millennial generation with an adrenaline-heavy experience,” he said.

The center will charge $12 for an hour spent using any of the 15 or so activity centers that are planned and $20 for two hours.

Lawrence said he looked for more than a year to find a suitable location in the Sacramento area before discovering the former Breuners furniture building, at 5400 Date Ave., which was acquired in 2010 by Sacramento investor Ethan Conrad.

Conrad, one of the city’s biggest landlords, said he sees CircusTrix as a “good fit” for the neatly 150,000-square-foot building that has high visibility from I-80 – and added that he’s inclined to bring his own employees there for team-building events.

“Hey, bowling is fun,” he said, referring to his firm’s next employee outing. “But I’d rather go and play around on a trampoline.”

Better times for industrial sector

Here’s a not-so-sexy sign that the local economy is on the rebound: For the first time in years, there’s a mini-surge in spec construction of large warehouses and distribution facilities.

The latest example is a plan announced this week for a 141,480-square-foot industrial building in the Riverside Commerce Center in West Sacramento.

Construction of the Class A building – with 30-foot ceiling clearances, skylights and energy-efficient lighting – represents pent-up demand for large facilities of this type, said Skip Vanderbundt, part of a Newmark Cornish & Carey team that’s marketing the building.

He noted that construction of big industrial properties without identified tenants had been “nearly nonexistent” until Ridge Capital and Buzz Oates Group of Cos. launched a few of them over the past couple of years.

The largest of the Ridge projects, a 474,000-square-foot building in West Sac, was occupied last year by Nor-Cal Beverage Co. Two other Ridge projects in the same area aren’t yet occupied but are drawing interest, said Matt Lofrano, a broker in JLL’s Sacramento office who represents Ridge.

Meanwhile, Lofrano said, Ridge is looking to put up two more spec buildings in West Sac’s Southport area – one measuring 384,00 square feet and the other just under 200,000 square feet .

When will construction start? Just as soon as the two unleased projects start filling up, he said.