Wednesday, May 24, 2006

firestone building development

This is an example of something that might be good to discuss in the SRD yahoogroup once it gets going, cuz I don't want the blog to be completely taken up by city planning stuff, but as it's not up yet, I'll post about it.

OK, so one of the things we talked about last night was the rumor that a California Pizza Kitchen may be interested in the old Firestone building. Me and a couple of other people were going to investigate this and report at the next meeting. If this is true, we may need to mobilize on it quickly. Here's what I've found: SacBizJournal reported on April 14th that CPK is eyeing a downtown location. No specifics about where. The Downtown Sacramento Partnership website has a little blurb about it and gives possible contacts, also with no specifics. So next week we will probably discuss our plan of action on this. The DSP website says they are going to restore the art deco look of it. That's a really cool building that is currently an eyesore, so I'm all for that, but I'd like to know what they're planning to put in there.


Anonymous said...

The last I heard, that space was going to become a Roy's restaurant, part of the high-end Hawaiian chain.

There's nothing on their site about it, but a few other blogs/message boards have referred to that. That would be a big step up over a CPK.


Uneasy Rhetoric said...

I ate at the Roy's in the Seattle Westin once. Overpriced, overrated.

Anonymous said...

None of them have been extremely legitimate sources but, I've heard a great deal of buzz (read: complaints) in reference to the CPK deal at Firestone and all of them have all suggested that it was a pretty done deal.

Perhaps, however, that buzz was all based on that one SacBizJournal article?

Is anyone able to locate a more credible confirmation?

- Sam (who really is working today, I swear!)

beckler said...

People are looking into it. Man I would be so bummed if it's too late to have any inpute. High-priced Hawaiian? That's like a bad joke come true.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that space supposed to be holding TWO restaurants? A main one and then a smaller one on the side?


Anonymous said...

"Other developers have gotten into the act. Ken Fahn and Mark A. Cordano recently were picked by owners of the old Firestone tire store at 16th and L streets to rehab the art deco building into a retail and restaurant complex.

Fahn also developed the Park Downtown restaurant and bar complex a block away on 15th and L streets -- a project widely regarded as having raised the bar for style downtown."

Anonymous said...

I heard the rumor from peeps at my work that a few businesses were going in that building, one being CPK. Hopefully I'm wrong.

beckler said...

I think it's true that they are looking into it, but I don't think it's a done deal yet.

cakegrrl said...

This doesn't have to do with the firestone building, but it does involve a A "Vibrant Plan" for K Street.
Another Jack's Urban Eats = not very vibrant in my opinion.

beckler said...

Better than a CPK! A "cabaret"?! What the fuck are they talking about?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm.. Mark Fahn and the Park restaurant are not exactly what I'd consider to be an accurate representation of the local independent "mom and pop" business owner scene...

Another point to be considered... Do we want downtown turning into the "next big bar scene?" because if "The Park" is indicative of current plans for the new atmosphere of downtown, I'm STILL quite bothered - Even if they ARE "local" developers.

I'd prefer to walk my daughter through a midtown environment that has a flourishing art, music and local scene - NOT a flourishing bar/party scene.

I'm all for some fun. But, come on.

Big money bars and lofts have the overwhelming potential to be every bit as sterile and homogenized as a CPK, Walmart or Chipotle...

- Sam

Anonymous said...

i like how the "vibrant plan" article mentions all the vacant buildings but does not mention why they are vacant: the city bought/forced out the small, locally owned businesses so it could offer the whole block for "big" development. in a vaguely similar vein, i'm bummed about the development plans for K between 7th & 8th. that's probably the best block on K street, excepting the Crest. you've got Joe Sun, Records, that new comic book shop (which is doing quite well), bonehead tattoo (which had Junta in the basement until the city hassled them out of existence), that Clothier that's resorted to selling food items to get by, Morelia's Mexican restaurant, etc. there's also a Mens' Wearhouse, a cell phone store, and maybe something else. there's only one actual vacant storefront, on the corner of 8th & K. But the development plans for that block will almost certainly include a bunch of chain nonsense to try to draw Downtown Plaza shoppers across the street and onto the K street mall. (sorry, no time to find a link to an article about those plans, i know there have been a few in the Bee lately.)
i'm all for redevelopment, but forcing out small local businesses in favor of big national ones is not the way to go. it has been fun seeing how negatively the city & the bee present areas that are to be "fixed", like calling the downtown/midtown border desolate, or talking about how the new Safeway has made such a positive impact on that whole neighborhood. sad thing is, anyone not familiar with the neighborhoods in question probably believes the lies.

Anonymous said...

I also heard that a McCormick and Schmidt is opening somewhere on DJ street, where they've been renovating around the tens.

Anonymous said...

oh and the Hooters going in next to the Depot!

Anonymous said...

also, The Park's Ultra Lounge is only open 3 nights a week. The rest of the week it's a few "locally" owed restaurants and cafes serving good food and beverage. Whats wrong with that?

Anonymous said...

Hooters on 21st and K? Dear God.

Anonymous said...

It's true - we can't get bummed on developments simply because we don't personally frequent them (and anyway, I think Masons' is awesome!). Nobody higher up will take that seriously. I'm personally most interested in keeping downtown predominantly local. You can't stop the perceived "yuppification" of certain areas, because that's a segment of the downtown population that exists. Pretending that every higher-end restaurant/shop is only frequented by people who come from the burbs isn't realistic. People took advantage (and I wish I had too!) of the downtown housing boom & suddenly it wasn't just about counter-culture renters. It's changing & that's inevitable but that has nothing to do with a bunch of soul-less chain businesses & insanely priced lofts. You can be well-off & semi-conservative and still enjoy locally run businesses. It's the character of downtown that I'd like to preserve. This isn't some class-war. You inherently know when you're in the "downtown" of any city because it has an interesting variety that most burbs don't have - and lately I get the feeling that the track the city is on right now is one that's mainly catering to convenience with no regard to that character. "Now you don't have to drive to the burbs to go to this chain restaurant!". That's a tide that needs turning pretty damn soon. I honestly see it not as just something I would personally like better - I really feel that we'd be saving downtown from losing everything that makes it vital. Some cities where this type of gentrification has happend have had the luxury of moving the cultural center to another neighborhood - but I'm pretty convinced now that Del Paso, Oak Park etc aren't the answer like I once thought they might be when this shitty trend first reared it's head.


Alice said...

holy shit. hooters next to the depot? unless it's a bunch of trannies working that place i fail to see how it fits in AT ALL.

Anonymous said...

Good words Miller!


werenotdeep said...

You know what's a better idea than putting Hooters next to the Depot? Putting an abortion clinic next to the new mormon temple in Folsom. It might make people more angry, but it's actually a better idea and makes about as much sense.

Anonymous said...

Wow, 20th & K is officially the Boner District! I think some nice signs are in order.


Alice said...

rad. i'm going to call it the 'boner district' from now on.

Anonymous said...

My boss, who is pretty active in the LGBT community, told me that the building next to the Depot is going to be an expansion of Faces. The plan is for a club with a pool. She didn't mention a Hooters...


werenotdeep said...

Faces is already expanding the already existing building, and as far as what my eyes could tell me, the pool was being put in to the area that was once parking space behind Faces.

I don't pretend to be totally on the dl with all of this info, but I was under the impression that Depot and Faces owners were sorta cross-town competetors who tolerate each other because having the two clubs right across from each other is actually good for both of their businesses, but they each secretly wish they could absorb or out-do the other.

I thought that corner on the northwest side of K street all belonged to the Depot people. I wouldn't imagine they'd just give up that real estate to Faces, or lease it to them, for that matter. But that's all my speculation on what I've heard, which might be ancient history, or might not have been all that accurate to begin with.

I'm just surprised somebody in that circle didn't think to steal the Hooters idea and market it to the gay crowd. I mean, just name a greasy spoon diner after some euphamism for a male body part and have the waiters dress in tight tacky uniforms.

I guess other than the bit about the uniforms, one could argue that that's exactly what Hot Rod's is, though.

Anonymous said...

If it's true that the Depot people own that lot, it seems equally unlikely that they'd lease it to Hooter's! That's not going to be good for business either, right?


Anonymous said...

You all are on 20th and K, not 21st and K. I think we are talking about the former bank, former state net and currently McMartin Real Estate building.


Anonymous said...

Just a cent or two... :)

“You inherently know when you're in the "downtown" of any city because it has an interesting variety that most burbs don't have”

That’s true. And I 100% agree.

But, I wouldn’t consider 7 Paragary restaraunts in a 5 mile range a sparkling example of “variety.” And that has nothing to do with some alleged “class war” that I’m fighting against financially endowed business owners.

“Pretending that every higher-end restaurant/shop is only frequented by people who come from the burbs isn't realistic.”

No, it’s not. Even as a “low-income,” non-suburban statistic, I frequent many of the higher-end downtown shops when I can afford it.

I love to visit Mikuni’s with friends, on a special occasion and when I’ve got the cash. And Ernesto’s has, in my opinion, the best vegetarian soup in town.
I gave Spataros it’s fair chance. But, the food was bland and tasteless and after I sent back my order three times I thought it was fair to conclude my own service experience as awful.

The Park Lounge is all fine and good. But, again, I too would prefer some VARIETY downtown.

My concern is that only the “higher-end” local business owners are able to make any seqway downtown. And that includes local chains and monopolies as well as the national.

“You can be well-off & semi-conservative and still enjoy locally run businesses.”

Damn straight you can.

The local, independent (read: “normal every day people who are NOT multi-millionaires”) business owners of Sacramento need the support of the assumed “conservative” middle-class every bit as much as they need my “counter-culture” support. I welcome them. I do.

And I would hope that the “well-off, semi-conservatives” who frequent those type of establishments would find their way to support “counter-culture” businesses and activities like Fools Foundation and Second Saturday; that they would find their way through awesome local home décor boutiques like Heirlooms on J and Three Women and an Armoire on F street.
I all but beg my more “conservative” friends to accompany me to support local music and to stretch them to support not only the Avalon’s and Harlow’s of Sacramento but the Old Ironside’s and the True Love Café’s as well.

No one said anything about needing to be “counter-culture” to enjoy local businesses. No one said anything about a class war. I, personally, am indifferent to patrons who are rich or poor, conservative or liberal (Although what is with this weird assumption that rich = yuppie conservative and poor = counter-culture liberal? And that’s not to say that my broke ass isn’t proud to be a bleeding heart liberal… ;)

The local business scene needs them ALL to really thrive.

But, when ANY one business owner or developer is able to have too large a stake in the downtown market, homogenization is inevitable – Whether they are a local business person or not.

As for the downtown housing boom – I, like many of my friends, had the foresight to anticipate a major downtown housing boom. But (like many of us poor bastards ;), I didn’t have the money to put down on a home when the median price was $250,000 and I definitely don’t have the money to put down on a home now that it’s exceeding $450,000!

BUT… I am thankful for the people who did.

I am thankful for those who lovingly restored many of the old victorians that were caving in on themselves and at the risk of being demolished. The history and culture of downtown is in danger every time we lose another historic building to a parking lot, luxury loft, or a Chipotle. While it may be inevitable in many cases, I’d like to see those cases kept to a minimum.

I don’t look down on the “yuppie” home owners who have transplated themselves downtown. Just like I don’t look down on my friends who have made the tough decision to move out to the suburbs because they couldn’t afford to restore a 100 year old home and didn’t want to raise their families in a two bedroom downtown apartment.

Oh, In any case…
YES! A healthy downtown scene is ALL about diversity!

Downtown should be diverse and it should be the gooey cultural center of the Sacramento area and yes, that INCLUDES high priced lofts, high-end restaurants and a trendy bar scene. But frankly, I’m more than a little worried as those seem to comprise the vast majority of recent downtown developments.

The multi-million dollar developers will get their fair share, I’m sure. It’s not their fight I’m interested in fighting. They’ve got the money to fight their own.
It’s not that I’m interested in pushing them out either. I’m just not so worried that they won’t be able to “make it.” I’m pretty sure that the Mark Fahn’s and Randy Paragary’s of Sacramento will do just fine without our advocacy before city countil.

- Sam (who, really, will shut up and get some work done now :)

werenotdeep said...

RE: Hooters/Depot

Yeah, Hooters might not be very good business for the Depot, not with Hot Rod's right there. Hot Rod's already does pretty good business (I think?). And it's roughly the same thing, food wise. The only difference would be that the seating area in Hot Rod's is likely to be less than would be at Hooters, and there's no tits at Hot Rod's.

Even if the actual land doesn't belong to them, I'd think they (the Depot, who own Hot Rods) would fight it tooth and nail, even if for no other reason than that it would suck business away from Hot Rod's.

werenotdeep said...

Ah, okay. Thanks GBomb. I was wondering where they could possibly mean. No, they don't own it, but it would still be bad for Hot Rod's.

Or maybe not.

If I was stumbling out of Faces on my way to the depot and I was hungry, I'd probably hit Hot Rod's and totally skip Hooter's. There's nothing for me there, and it's probably a dollar to the burger more expensive. Plus, I doubt it'll still be open at 2am.

Anonymous said...

Right, and I wasn't directing that specifically at you - it's just that what you wrote is what got me thinking about this so it came off that way. I believe that one of the most crucial issues facing downtown is that if someone has a decently thought out business idea & they feel they want their business downtown because that's where a majority of their potential clientele live, that they should at least have a chance at getting some city funding if they can't afford to open it on their own. I don't know how this works & maybe I'm being naive that that's even possible. But regardless, I think it's absurd for the city to help fund a place like Century Theatres when Century can afford it themselves. A fraction of what they would lend a place like that would be so much more crucial to a true small business owner.

A small point though, the Paragary's empire has definitely got a grip on downtown & has to some degree shaped the modern version of downtown to an almost absurd degree, but that shouldn't be a reason to be down on a place like The Park just because it bears a resemblance.

I agree though with most everything you just said.


Anonymous said...

No worries. I didn't feel attacked.

I just find it impossible to shut up, at times. ;)

"But regardless, I think it's absurd for the city to help fund a place like Century Theatres when Century can afford it themselves."

A-fuckin-men to that.

As for the Park... I realize that they are not a part of the Paragary Empire. But, you said it yourself... They do bear a resemblance to one another.

And keeping the spirit of diversity and variety in mind, I can't say I wasn't dissapointed to see yet another Paragary style joint pop up in an area that used to used the old Cap Garage and Beer Books. Who, if you remember, were all but pushed out of that location to make way for the Park Lounge/Mason's development.

Like I said, I'm all for the variety... So, I'd like to see efforts taken to prevent downtown from becoming full of clubs and restaurants that all mirror one another in some way.

But, I'm pretty sure we're on the same page in that respect. ;)

Anonymous said...


Do you have any details on Bass Pro Shops supposedly coming to the downtown railyards?

Link from the Bee:

Sacramento Appreciation Society of San Francisco

beckler said...

i heard that part of the railyard development plan is a fully stocked bass fishing canal.

Anonymous said...

The owner of the old Beers/new The Park land had been waiting a long time to sell that prime location & I think the businesses had long been aware that their days were numbered. It's hard not to get emotional when it comes to great places like Beers & Esoteric getting run out (Capitol Garage however can blow me) but the key is to not blame what cropped up aftewards. The land was for sale & someone had to buy it. Thank god it was at least local & not a place like CPK. (Another example would be Mulvaney's. If that had opened right after New Helvetia closed, there would be a sort of backlash on it cuz it's another semi-expensive restaurant - but since Krispy Kreme headquarters was briefly there, it changes the perception quite a bit). Luckily, Beers has done great for itself at it's new location &, just as importantly, they've given some life to that previously quiet-ish block and, along with Dad's, are starting a mini S St. pocket of activity.
There's a prime middle of downtown (from J - Capitol, 15th - 21st) that's extremely appealing to businesses right now & those businesses who can afford it will jump on that land when it goes up for sale. I don't know exactly what can be done about that in terms of the smaller guy competing there. The best thing I can think of is to find the small pockets of downtown that are still somewhat unappealing to bigger businesses (I know, there aren't many!) & focus on that. I'd say the area by Temple or La Bonne Soup is a good example.
One more thing, while they may bear a resemblance, spend your $50 at Mason's! It kicks most Paragary's restaurants' ass.


Anonymous said...

If Bass Pro Shops does come to the downtown railyards I'll apply for a position in their Ddnamite fish'n department. Or maybe even the Okie Noodlin' department...


Anonymous said...

Ooops. I meant dynamite fish'n.


Anonymous said...

"I don't know exactly what can be done about that in terms of the smaller guy competing there."

I don't either. But, I think this is a point that needs to be brought up and advocated for in the proper channels.

When the city is strapped thanks to providing large subsidies to Chipotles and Theatre complexes, what help can they offer to a small local business that is looking to open downtown?

That's the problem. It's totally backwards.

And to clarify: I don't blame The Park for where it opened. I don't blame it at all. My major concern isn't for the pre-existing Park or Paragary Empire, per say. It's for replication, ad nauseam.

I do agree with you that the new Beers location has given that area a breath of fresh air(it looks great there, truly), but I fear that the local business will continue (for one reason or another) be forced to stretch further and further out of central downtown (to areas less expensive and less desired by large corporations and chain business owners). How much stretching and compromising can be done before local "downtown" businesses aren't located particluarly close to the epicenter of downtown at all?

And if I've got an $50 to spend, I'm saving it until they open a male-centric version of "Hooters" by the Depot...

Yeeee-haw! ;)

Anonymous said...

What do people think are good examples of locally owned businesses?
If it means anything, Mason's work with other small business likes buying their bread from the Bread Store and some produce from Del Rio Botanicals. Is it the building that is un liked or the family? What is it replicating?
I'm not sure if the Hooter's is going in right where I heard, but last week on Craig's list they were hiring for a downtown location.

beckler said...

I think Lisa has a good point. Don't forget that that complex is owned by a local family who worked their way up.

Anonymous said...

I just deleted a long explanation of what I've seen in how Business works in Sacramento. I compared Sacramento to Burt Reynolds' vinyl jacket in "Smokey and the Bandit", but it's a limb I'm not ready to step out on on a public forum.

At next Tuesdays meeting, I can explain some of the mired world Sacramento lives in if anyone is interested. Although, Soriano would probably be a better choice.

beckler said...

Why don't you post it to the group, instead? i think the yahoo group would be a better forum for that than the meeting. we need to keep those meetings short and focus on action! my attention span is very short and i don't like to miss my programs.

Anonymous said...

I never suggested that the Park wasn't a local business. And I think I've said about three times now that my problem isn't with the Park.

But to suggest that it is not VERY similar in style to several other up-scale venues downtown is just silly. To suggest that it adds a truly unique thumbprint to the list of recent downtown developments would be an exaggeration.

I am aware it's owned by a local family. And, like I said previously, I agree that downtown does need it's share of nightclubs, up-scale restaurants and trendy what-the-heck-evers. The Park is one of those - And I'm glad it's locally owned.

My point has been and still is that it's shame OTHER local families AREN'T so readily able to "work their way up" or, rather, to find their way through all the ridiculous bureaucratic bullshit potential local business owners are confronted with (or run through all their funds before they are able to do so).

- S

Anonymous said...

Like who?

Anonymous said...

Eh, unfortunately The Park has just become a sort of mascot for the gray area that upscale businesses fall in to when it comes to discussing "local" business. In other words, big but local & following the trend of upscale downtown restaurants. We probably don't need to bicker on the finer points. I think everyone pretty much sees things similarly.

Just wait til I bring up the fact that I'm actually not totally against a new arena!


beckler said...

and that's why you're going to be banned from our discussion group.

Anonymous said...

Just another rumor... Paul Fleming, restaurant pioneer of PF Changs, Flemings Steakhouse and a few other small chains, may have intrest in opening a new conept. I hear it is called Paul Martin's American Bistro. Paul Flemings is nationally known for his concepts and service strategies. Sacramento would be lucky to get a new concept from this guy.

As for 20th and Kst...

Next to Depot will be a Badlands night club. Just like the one in SF but much larger... 3 stories I hear. A Lounge/Martini bar will be opened this summer above Hotrods. Faces is expanding with 2 stories, VIP area and a pool. MARRS, NW corner, is rumored to have a new concept by the owners of 33rd St Bistro. I also heard Paraguary's was interested... but haven't heard anything in quite awhile.

More places to eat, drink and dance. Cheers!