California Forum

Another View: Gas station for Curtis Park Village worth trade-off

Stores like Sur La Table, Jack’s Urban Eats and other notable Sacramento-based restaurants are touted as prospective retail tenants if Safeway signs on as the anchor grocery for Curtis Park Village, a 72-acre development on the reclaimed railyard site adjacent to Sacramento City College.
Stores like Sur La Table, Jack’s Urban Eats and other notable Sacramento-based restaurants are touted as prospective retail tenants if Safeway signs on as the anchor grocery for Curtis Park Village, a 72-acre development on the reclaimed railyard site adjacent to Sacramento City College. The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento’s Curtis Park was recently named the nation’s sixth-hottest neighborhood market for 2015 by the real estate brokerage Redfin. That’s a gratifying, but not surprising, designation for those of us who live here.

We think Curtis Park compares favorably to more-renowned Land Park and East Sacramento, and prospective homebuyers are taking notice. But unlike those two neighborhoods, we have woefully few shopping and restaurant choices here, especially within walking or biking distance.

That’s about to change with the construction of Curtis Park Village, a 72-acre development on the reclaimed railyard site adjacent to Sacramento City College. Stores like Sur La Table, Jack’s Urban Eats, Selland’s and other notable Sacramento-based restaurants are touted as prospective retail tenants if Safeway signs on as the anchor grocery for the village. (“Competing views of Curtis Park Village rely on scare tactics,” Editorial notebook, Jan. 26)

There’s the catch. Safeway says its decision is predicated on the opening of its own fuel center, an eight-pump gas station inside the center boundaries. No gas, no Safeway.

The developer says that if Safeway pulls out, the location would only attract a less desirable food store and more downscale tenants.

When the gas station controversy surfaced, I did a bit of research by visiting Safeway’s station in Fair Oaks. It was clean, seemed safe, with cars moving in and out efficiently.

I wouldn’t mind having a similar service nearby, and it would provide peace of mind for my wife and daughter to have a place to fill up after dark.

If the trade-off for high-quality stores is a well-designed, well-maintained gas station, count me as on board. Judging by neighbors’ conversations in person and online, others in Curtis Park agree.

But don’t take my word for it. Watch the people who will reside in the new homes that are springing up across the street.

At last weekend’s opening for BlackPine Communities’ new brownstones, hundreds of visitors toured the model homes. Some units already are in contract for sale, according to the builder, along with several newly constructed cottages that have been sold nearby.

If affluent buyers are paying $650,000 and more for upscale homes facing the still-vacant retail site, maybe they’re on to something.

Who knows, if sales keep taking off, perhaps next year Curtis Park, along with the new Village, will rank as the No. 1 hottest neighborhood in the country.

Chris Thompson is a self-employed public relations consultant with Thompson Strategic Communications.

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