Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Crest Theater Improvements Project

The Sacramento City Council passed a motion last week to loan an additional $160,000 to the existing $253,839 loan principal to create a new loan to be used for capital improvements to the theater. The loan is forgivable in the year 2019 if the theater makes structural, safety, and aesthetic improvements as part of scenic easement to the Crest Theater marquee. An Owner Participation Agreement (OPA) with The Briggs Family Group (Owner) is to provide Downtown Redevelopment tax increment funds to the project. The loan would add $160,000 to the existing loan principal $253,839 and create a new loan of $413,839 to be used for capital improvements to the theater.

Crest Theater Loan Documents

Friday, January 16, 2009

Coming Soon: The Shady Lady and de Vere's Irish Pub

With all the new night spots opening in Downtown and Midtown over the last few years, I really wanted to highlight these two business that are ready to open in the near future.

As most of you know, a large majority of the bars and clubs that have opened up are of the upscale , $15 - $20 cover, loud DJ, dressed up type places. I'm glad to see that more of these places have opened since there has been a void for someone who wants that scene, but I've been really wanting to see more variety in the offerings of new establishments.

I still enjoy going to places like that from time to time, but for the most part I want the Pub and the lively bar scene now where I don't have to pay $20 to just get in....I will gladly rack up one hell of a bar tab though.

From everything I have seen and heard, these two places will hit the spot for me. De Vere's for the classic pub atmosphere, The Shady Lady for the lower key speakeasy night were you can catch up with old friends over drinks and some lite playing live music in the background.

de Vere's Irish Pub (You guys better have the US v Mexico soccer game on 2/11!!)
Firestone Building - 16th and L Street
Open to the public Jan 30th.

The Shady Lady
14th and R Street
Opening Spring time

Plan for 10th and K Revealed

I've always thought 10th - 13th could and would be great dining, nightclub and theater district. This plan definitely solidifies that with the addition of the Ella's, Cosmopolitan, Parlare, and these venues joining long-time stalwarts like The Crest, Community Center Theater, and even Imax Now just a couple more small theaters in the mix.

Hopefully at some point if the 700 and 800 block develop into a retail stretch, to fill the other part of that.

I find Mason's comments a bit odd, especially considering he just opened his new venue MIX early this month. If we have learned anything from Westfield, competition is a good thing.

One thing I will say is more housing or hotels in the immediate area would sure help these business out. There is still a lot of redevelopment funds that have been set aside for housing, but nothing has panned out yet.

I've been hearing about an imminent announcement for a hotel project on the corner of 10th and K for a few months now, but still nothing. The group is Tony Giannoini and the group that did the Ross Atkins remake on 10th and K.

I assume this money is coming from the funds set aside from the Sheraton sale, but 5.4M, plus what I am sure will also include the buildings themselves, sure does sound like a lot of redevelopment money for a couple new night spots. I really hope the city is getting the same type of agreement where they share in the profits over a certain amount.


Mermaids, dancing, pizza tossing? Developer reveals plans for new downtown nightspots
By Bob Shallit
Published: Friday, Jan. 16, 2009

Mermaids on K Street? Believe it.

Sea nymphs swimming in an aquarium behind a bar is one element of an audacious - and very serious - proposal for a new entertainment complex in downtown Sacramento.

The proposal from acclaimed San Francisco nightspot owner George Karpaty also calls for a dance club targeting the "30s-and-over" set and a pizzeria known for its "dough acrobatics."

The complex would go into three storefronts between 1016 K and 1022 K St. and could be open by the end of this year, says Sacramento developer David Taylor, whose company is negotiating to acquire the proposed project site from the city's redevelopment agency.

That opening date is contingent on the city investing $5.4 million in redevelopment funds. The matter will go to the City Council next month.

Karpaty, who owns Ruby Skye and several other Bay Area nightclubs, says he's been looking for opportunities in Sacramento for two years and learned about the K street site last summer.

"It all just sort of fit together," he says of his plans, which include.

- Frisky Rhythm, a nightclub with plenty of seating, celebrity DJs and music that, Karpaty says, "gets 30-year-olds tapping their feet."

- Dive Bar, a "rustic" drinking spot, with a back bar aquarium that would be occupied at random times by women in mermaid costumes.

"We're going to create a buzz," Karpaty says. "People will be saying, 'Have you seen the mermaid?'" Instead of a juke box, the bar will have an oversized "flawless replica of an iPod." Guests could plug in their hand-held devices and play their own tunes, he says.

- Pizza Rock, an eatery by owners of Castro Valley's Pyzano's Pizzeria, known for the dough-spinning antics of owner Tony Gemignani, who promises the same kind of show here."Think of what the Harlem Globetrotters do with a basketball. We do it with pizza," Gemignani says.

Backers of the Karpaty proposal have kept a lid on the project - until now. But some local club owners fear it could cannibalize a shrinking market.

Mason Wong, owner of Mason's restaurant and the Park Ultra Lounge nightspot, says downtown and midtown already have "too many restaurants, too many bars and too many night clubs."

But Taylor, whose company is developing the project with CIM Group of Los Angeles, says Karpaty has the creativity and promotional chops to bring many more people to downtown, benefiting all. "He adds a whole new level of energy and marketing expertise," he says. "That can only help."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Downtown Plaza Losses Banana Republic and Ann Taylor

Little late, I know. Blame it on the economy, blame it on the poor performance of Downtown Plaza (DTP) in general, but Banana Republic and Ann Taylor will be closing its doors in DTP.

This is a pretty big loss for an already downward plunging mall. I had a feeling Ann Taylor would close, but I was a bit surprised by Banana Republic. For me personally, this leaves Macy's as the only place I go to DTP for, with BR being the only other one prior .

While all of it is not Westfield's fault, I really hope they take a fresh new look at what is needed...and not just a new food court. If they are not up to it, or willing, then sell to someone else. I get the demographics in the immediate are aren't exactly great, but come on.

I've said this before, but I really hope the city does not sink redevelopment funds into DTP at this point in time.

Fortunately, even with the loss of these establishments, as you will see in the next couple of posts, other things are on the way.

Banana Republic, Ann Taylor shutting Downtown Plaza store
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009

Apparel and accessories retailers Ann Taylor and Banana Republic will be leaving Westfield Downtown Plaza by the end of the month, officials with the mall confirmed today.

Raelene Trumm, the mall's marketing manager, said she could not comment beyond confirming the closures.

She said that Westfield intends to move forward this year with the first phase of a multimillion-dollar face-lift at the mall. Most of that work will be on the mall's second level, where Ann Taylor and Banana Republic operate.

Officials with New York-based Ann Taylor could not be reached for comment.

Catherine Rhoades, a spokeswoman for Banana Republic's San Francisco-based parent, Gap Inc., said the company does not cite specific reasons for individual store closures. She said the company continually evaluates specific markets and the relative success of its stores in those markets.

Other area stores operated by the two retailers remain open.