Woody's Grill and Bar at Country Club Plaza has shut its doors. Though there has been a bit of chit-chat on Nextdoor about whether people liked or did not like the the food or the service or whatever, the real story came out in a Business Journal article last week. The restaurant owner was concerned about what has happened to the area and had been unsuccessful at getting the building owner to lower the rent. He told the Business Journal: "When we moved in here, it was a viable mall with a good tenant mix. We’ve hung in there and watched 30 stores close.” So he has chosen to fold up the Watt Avenue site and focus on his other enterprise, a tour boat on the Sacramento River. This is not happy news for the community, as it cannot be a good thing for Country Club Plaza to have still another business go away. The County told the community that the Winco discount grocery would breathe new life into the center. Since Winco opened there is a new Planet Fitness, two restaurants are planning to move in, and some of the small stores from the mall's past are still around. However, Macy's has closed, the promised new movie theater has yet to be built, and the U.S. Bank building has become a magnet for the homeless. The chopped-up ownership pattern -- different owners for different chunks of the site -- continues to bedevil expectations for success. One would think a 30 acre site at the center of the metro area would be a golden opportunity for a regional mixed-use showpiece. But that would require a vision for the area and leaders willing to carry out the vision. It's not easy finding either of those. Will the mall renew itself, or will it go the way of the long-shuttered Saving Center a few blocks up the street?
"We were on Fulton Avenue for 20 years, and then that area got blighted. We’ve been here for 16 years, and it was pretty good to right up until 2008, and it has gotten pretty blighted."Jim Haggart, owner of Woody's Grill and Bar, as stated to the Sacramento Business Journal, "Restaurant Closing at Country Club Plaza" 7/25/2107