Welcome to the new year, full of hope and expectation. Gosh, we were so ready to turn over a new leaf and move forward. Then we got wind of the proposed development project at Country Club Center. It sure deflated our balloon! Welcome to the new year, same as the old year; still circling the drain. Here's the news as reported in the Business Journal on 12/30/2020 and kindly copied and pasted to some Nextdoor Nearby Neighborhoods for the vast majority of us who can't get past the Journal's paywall:
"Proposal would add new buildings to Arden-Arcade retail center.
Possible changes at an Arden-Arcade retail center could lead to four new buildings, including one filled by a fast-growing restaurant chain. The proposal would make way for significant changes at Country Club Center at Watt and El Camino avenues, according to information filed with Sacramento County. Those records describe a proposed project that would demolish a former Walmart store and replace it with two new retail buildings. The proposal also includes the construction of two restaurant drive-thru buildings, one of which would be occupied by quick-service eatery Raising Cane's. The new restaurant buildings would be parallel and south of El Camino Avenue, and between the intersections of Yorktown and El Camino avenues, and El Camino and Watt avenues, according to public records. Tourmaline Capital, a San Diego-based real estate investment firm, bought the Arden-Arcade center in 2015. Both Tourmaline Capital and Roseville-based Gallelli Real Estate are listed in documents depicting the proposed changes at the center. Representatives of Tourmaline and Gallelli did not immediately return messages seeking comment. The center has many vacancies, according to a description of the proposed project filed with the county. Walmart, Sam's Club and Michaels Stores Inc. left Country Club Center in recent years. Earlier this year, a Costco Business Center opened in the space previously occupied by Sam's Club. Information filed with the county suggests the two new retail buildings replacing Walmart would be 41,000 square
feet and 16,000 square feet. Both retailers would be service oriented, including a planned grocery store in the larger space, records state. The new retailers, paired with the recently opened Costco store, "will strategically be a catalyst to backfill the high rate of vacancy on site," records state. "This project is a renovation of an existing shopping center, but will also provide new restaurant, grocery store, and general retail service-oriented uses. The existing and proposed new uses support those that are typical in commercial districts and what is encouraged along major arterial streets and corridors along El Camino Avenue and Watt Avenue," states a description of the proposed project. Raising Cane's, the only identified tenant in the proposal, is on a local expansion streak. The Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based restaurant chain has at least five other local sites in the works. Founded in 1996, Raising Cane's has hundreds of restaurants in the U.S. and beyond. The chain has a limited, straightforward menu that focuses on chicken fingers, coleslaw, crinkle-cut fries and Texas toast. A Raising Cane's representative did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the possible Country Club Center restaurant. It appears the Raising Cane's restaurant in Country Club Center would be about 3,370 square feet, while the other planned new drive-thru restaurant building would be about 3,055 square feet. The proposal also includes new landscaping and a new parking lot east of the new retail buildings, records state."
Got that? More "your name here" speculative retail space in a community overrun with it. More drive-through fast food - serving chicken, just like the fast food restaurant kitty-corner at the same intersection. Another grocery store in an area that's saturated with grocery stores. There's no mixed use, no residential component, no buildings that go up high enough to capture imagination and take advantage of mountain, sunset and fall-color views. What does it have? Real estate commissions, some very short-term construction jobs and a whole lot of space that can be rented to the state or the feds for workers who will tie up the roads driving to and from Roseville, Rocklin, Lincoln, Rancho Cordova and Elk Grove. We will be told the project is consistent with our 40-year-old community plan (the one that says we have too much retail space). And, of course, there will be no consultation with us. The fact that the proposal has surfaced at its current level of detail is evidence that neither the County nor the developer have paid attention to successful projects or alternative approaches elsewhere. But you can bet the County will assert that "Something is better than nothing", remind us that decades ago there was a grocery store there, inaccurately claim the site as fabulously pedestrian/bicycle/transit-friendly, and routinely dismiss any concerns we might raise. While they also accuse us of NIMBYism. Don't be surprised if the County tries to avoid consideration of environmental impacts, either. Bottom line: no vision, not sustainable.
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."Cliché attributed to Albert Einstein
This project is seriously lacking in imagination. It's the same old-same old, 1980's style commercial retail pipe dream that hasn't worked at Country Club Plaza across the street or the Arden Creek Town Center a few blocks down Watt at Arden or, well, frankly, all over the place. Meanwhile, our community's poster-child of a failed retail site - the old Saving Center - gloriously decays a few blocks in the other direction on Watt. Oh sure, having Walmart at Country Club Center was a dumb idea and we would like something better there. But look, the site is smack dab in the middle of the entire metro area. Can you think of another metro area that features two fast-food chicken places at the same major intersection in the geographic center of the region? We can't either. No doubt we will be posting more about this project as the new year rolls along.