With new management and development plans in play, as well as the closing of several smaller retailers and potential closure of Sears, Macy’s and even JCPenney looming, all eyes are on the future of Sunrise Mall, which, like many enclosed malls nationwide, is struggling for survival due in part to growing competition from online retailers, but also demand for so-called “power centers” offering outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment “experiences.”
Enclosed shopping malls, many built in the 1970s, have been shutting down for several years, earning the moniker of “Dead Malls” as their big-box anchor stores like Sears, Macy’s and JCPenney have packed up and left due to shrinking foot traffic amidst rising online retail competition, most currently from companies such as Amazon. The three stores announced a collective closure of some 300 locations this year with more to follow. Additionally, Kmart announced it will close 108 stores.
Although Sears, Macy’s and JCPenney remain open at Sunrise Mall, the mass closures, many industry followers predict, have essentially pre-written their company obituaries. To combat diminishing in-store sales, JCPenney restructured its focus in late 2016, moving in on Sears’ territory with the announcement it would begin selling home appliances in time for the holiday shopping season. JCP’s Sephora “shop-in-shops” and coupon-driven sales are believed to be fueling strong quarterly sales for the company, but it’s not clear whether the push into appliances can have any long-term impact.
Big box retailers aside, a number of smaller stores in Sunrise Mall have also closed over the last few years, leaving prime locations, two adjacent to Sears and as many as three located in the mall’s entryway, vacant. Most recently, Pennsylvania-based teen retailer Rue 21 announced plans to shutter 400 of its stores due to declining foot traffic. The Sunrise Mall location is currently in liquidation mode and believed to be set for closure within the month.
“We don’t how long we have to stay open exactly, probably about a month,” said one sales associate at Rue 21 who did not want to disclose her name.
It’s not only that shoppers have stopped spending their money in stores and now buy everything online. In fact, the decline of the enclosed mall has been ongoing for years nationwide, as many are being replaced with so-called “power centers,” offering upscale and fast-casual eateries, multi-cinema movie theaters, outdoor strolling space and even park-like play areas for families, typically anchored by retail darlings Target and Best Buy.
Take the Westfield Galleria at Roseville, for example, one of the largest and busiest malls in Northern California with 240 shops and restaurants, which include high-end stores like Tiffany & Co., Nordstrom, Juicy Couture and Lucky Brand Jeans, supported by the adjacent Fountains at Roseville, touted online as a “Lifestyle Center” offering shops and scores of restaurants.
“Things have definitely been on the downward trend here,” says Mathew Kramer, who manages a small retail store in Sunrise Mall but requested not to identify the store per company policy. Kramer has worked at Sunrise for nine years, but also remembers when the mall was built, back when it was the place to meet up with friends. Millennials, however, and those in the generation behind them have significantly different designs on how to spend their money and the experience they have doing it. Apparently, so do their parents.
“I grew up riding my bike to this mall, or walking to the bowling alley across the street for field trips,” said Kramer. “It used to be the place I’d go with my friends, but now everyone wants to shop online or they go to Roseville to be outside. They want to have that whole entertainment experience.”
New York-based Spinoso Real Estate Group took over management of the mall in 2016 and is reported to be working on long-range development plans for Sunrise. The company’s web site lists the development of retail power centers among its project resume.
Calls to Spinoso’s corporate offices for comment on its plans for Sunrise, as well as requests for data on first quarter occupancy rates and foot traffic were not returned. But it doesn’t take hard numbers to confirm the slowdown. On any given day, the vast majority of parking spots not directly in front of the main entrance to the mall on Sunrise Boulevard sit vacant. In addition to the half a dozen or so closed shops inside, several retail kiosks dotting the mall’s center corridor also are vacant.
Kathilynn Carpenter is executive director of the Sunrise Marketplace Business Improvement District (BID), which is comprised of some 400 stores, restaurants and services located along the Sunrise Boulevard and Greenback Lane business corridor, including the mall. She agreed Sunrise is struggling amidst a changing demand for something beyond long, enclosed rows of shops and a shift toward online shopping. She is privy to some of the planning for Sunrise and did say “improvements” were involved, but Carpenter declined to elaborate on what those plans look like.
“It is true that many of the retailers are overstocked and now that issue is coming home to roost,” said Carpenter. She added that the trend is focused on what she termed “experiential” shopping options, but declined to say if Spinoso was planning on one of its power centers for the mall.
“What I can say is that I’m very excited by what I’ve seen so far,” said Carpenter, before downplaying any wholesale demise of the mall. She pointed out that what does happen next for Sunrise Mall will impact, not only its retailers and their employees, but all BID stakeholders.
“I can tell you that everyone who is a member of the BID has the best interest of the mall mind,” Carpenter said.
Citrus Heights City Manager Chris Boyd has said publicly that the city is “retail heavy,” adding that Spinoso’s long-term plans for the mall are going to be a game-changer that may potentially involve a mixed-use development with housing and retail.
On Monday, Boyd declined to discuss Spinoso’s plans. “I’ve got nothing new to add yet, but I know the new owners have some exciting ideas on the table,” he said.
Sunday, May 7, the 68th Annual Fair Oaks Fiesta kicks off in Fair Oaks Village. The event is packed with activities, races and fun for the whole community. A pancake breakfast begins the day, followed by “The Chicken Run” Sun Run, suitable for all ages.
Segments of the Sun Run include: a 5-mile run/walk; a 2-mile, non-competitive Rooster Rumble family walk; a kids’ ½-mile fun run for ages 6-9 and 10-12; a kids’ ¼-mile fun run for five-year-olds and under. Both the 5-mile run/walk and the paved-road Rooster Rumble 2.3-mile family walk start at Village Park in Old Fair Oaks.
“The 5-miler winds through the beautiful Old Fair Oaks residential neighborhood with a keyhole loop to Sailor Bar. The course is half paved roads, half dirt trail and features the infamous four hills: Grand Daddy Hill, Hernia Hill, The Beast and Last Gasp. The Rooster Rumble event stays on the paved roads through Old Fair Oaks,” according to the race website.
Next up, the Fiesta Day Classic Car Show this year will feature more than 300 vintage cars parked throughout the Village. Numerous vendors and merchants are providing music, raffles, hands-on activities, crafts, shopping and food trucks. Another highlight not to be missed is the Toilet Bowl Racer Challenge. This Fair Oaks tradition of souped-up commodes provides a promise of entertainment and ingenuity for participants and onlookers alike.
Parking is on a first-come basis. For further information (including the children’s free coloring contest), visit www.fairoakschamber.com.
California’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown consistently faster than the nation’s as a whole for four straight years. In 2015, the California GDP rose 5.6 percent, while the U.S. GDP increased 3.7 percent (unadjusted for inflation). Also called “economic output,” GDP measures the market value of goods, services, and structures that are produced within a particular period, and tends to be related to population, income, spending, employment, housing permits, and other measures of economic activity.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area led the nation with an economic output of about $1.603 trillion in 2015. California was represented by two of the top 10 areas: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim ($930.8 billion), and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward ($431.7 billion). The Los Angeles metropolitan area accounts for 37.9 percent of California’s GDP, while the San Francisco Bay Area comprises 17.6 percent. The Sacramento-Roseville region accounts for 4.8 percent ($118.8 billion).
San Jose has been the fastest growing metropolitan area within California – and the second fastest in the U.S. – with stronger economic growth than 380 of the nation’s 382 metropolitan areas in 2015. With growth rates that ranged from 5.0 percent to 10.4 percent over the past five years, the San Jose area had the largest increase in that time frame – 37.6 percent – more than 60 percent higher than the California average gain of 23.1 percent, for a total GDP of more than $235 billion. The state’s second-largest increase was in the Visalia-Porterville area – 32.4 percent – followed by Merced (30.2 percent), Napa (29.6 percent) and Madera (28.1 percent). The Hanford-Corcoran area also finished above the state average (24.2 percent). Both the Chico and Sacramento-Roseville areas had strong showings in 2015, ranking fourth and fifth in the state respectively in GDP growth.
One way to compare economic wellbeing among regions is to calculate inflation-adjusted GDP per capita. Real economic output per capita in the San Jose area was close to twice that of the California average in 2015. Other areas with higher than average per capita real GDP include San Diego, and Napa.
George Runner represents the First District and is a leading advocate for California taxpayers.
A group of business owners in the Fair Oaks Village is marshalling support and funds to improve the look and feel of their businesses and properties. Tired of vandalism, trash, loitering and other unfortunate and unsightly issues that have begun to plague the Village, the Fair Oaks Village Enhancement Committee (FOVEC) is taking steps to bring shoppers back to the storefronts by means of a Property & Business Improvement District (PBID) tax.
The PBID tax is one voluntarily paid only by business owners and commercial property owners within a selected zone. Enhancement Committee members are reaching out to other owners and the general public to answer questions and educate on the possible and positive aspects of such a tax. Membership in the FOVEC is limited to business and commercial property owners within the PBID-proposed zone. In addition to business to business outreach, the group has already held a community information meeting and has another scheduled for Wednesday, May 11.
Susan Peters, Third District Supervisor for Sacramento County, issued a statement, saying, “PBIDs are special districts created under state law that allow property owners to raise funds to improve a specific geographical area. Funds generated by PBIDs typically are used for increased security, image enhancement, maintenance like graffiti removal, and capital improvements.” She points to prior successes such as the Fulton Avenue Association and the Carmichael Improvement District. Both groups approved PBIDs that brought significant revitalization to those business areas.
The May 11 meeting is scheduled for 6 pm at the Fair Oaks Community Clubhouse Lower Level, 7997 California Ave, #1. For further information, contact FOVEC member Daneece Frazier at 916-296-5426, by email at FOVEC2011@gmail.com or visit the FOVEC website at www.fovec.org. Frazier is the owner of EJ’s Little People Hair Salon & Boutique in Fair Oaks Village.
Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) has stepped up to repeal the Democrat’s recent huge gas tax. He has issued following statements regarding his effort to repeal Senate Bill 1, the transportation proposal recently passed by the legislature that imposes $52 billion in permanent new gas taxes and user fees on California motorists.
“I will be exploring every possible avenue to repeal the gas tax, whether it’s through legislation, an initiative to change or eliminate other gas taxes, or other courses of action. I am going to fight to overturn this unfair and regressive tax and get some justice for the California families and businesses that are getting nickeled and dimed to death.
“The Governor has compared fixing our roads with the urgency of fixing a leaky roof. Well guess what Governor Brown, Californians have already paid to fix the roof but the repairs have not been made and we’re all wondering why we’re left paying for the same service twice.
“And how are the people supposed to believe that this money will actually go to transportation? Currently, the state is diverting a billion dollars in weight fees away from roads every year. According to a recent Legislative Analyst’s Office report, CalTrans is overstaffed by 3,500 people wasting $500 million of road money every year. Why would anyone believe that this new tax isn’t a bait and switch sham where the funds won’t be diverted to pay for pet projects like the High-Speed Rail boondoggle?
“We already have some of the highest gas taxes and worst roads in the country. For years, we’ve starved transportation when we’ve had many billions in surplus, even though it was supposedly a ‘system in crisis.’ Before we take a single penny from Californians in new taxes, it is our duty to make 100-percent certain that we are spending the money we already collect exclusively on road repair and construction. Senate Bill 1 failed to do that and I’m going to make every attempt to make it right.”
Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.
Three Fair Oaks groups and numerous sponsors have come together to present the 2017 series Concerts in the Park. The Fair Oaks Recreation & Parks District (FORPD), the Fair Oaks Chamber of Commerce (FOCC) and the Fair Oaks Foundation for Leisure and the Arts have assembled a wide variety of live music, suitable for the whole family.
“Concerts in the Park are a free series of concerts for the Fair Oaks community. It’s an opportunity for families to come together to enjoy a relaxing summer evening in the park,” according to the Fair Oaks Chamber of Commerce. The scheduled performances include everything from rock oldies to blues, swing and more.
The concerts run Thursdays from June 15 to August 17, 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm at Village Park (4238 Main St, Fair Oaks). Food, beverages and ice cream will be available for purchase. The Chamber invites the public to bring lawn chairs and blankets.
June 15 On Air
June 22 West Fifth Avenue Band
June 29 Metro Swing Band
July 6 Matt Rainey & the Dippin’ Sauce
July 13 The Lincoln Highway Band
July 20 Tom Rigney & Flambeau
July 27 Mad Dash
August 3 Two Tone Steiny & the Cadillacs
August 10 Jim Anderson & the Rebels
August 17 TBA
Captain Shawn Condit began his fire service career with American River Fire Department on August 4, 1990. In 2000, American River Fire District and Sacramento County Fire Protection District merged to become the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District, also known as Metro Fire. Shawn is the Truck Captain at Fire Station 109 where he oversees a truck crew of three firefighters. Station 109 is located in the Carmichael community and is unique in that this is where the Hazardous Materials unit is housed. Captain Condit coordinates the Hazardous Materials program for our department.
Throughout his career, Captain Condit has demonstrated leadership on multiple levels. Aside from being an excellent company officer, he has been a leader in the Hazardous Materials Program. His tenure in the program provides the stability needed while offering training opportunities for his crew. Captain Condit and his crew willingly take on new employees and are often called upon by the training cadre to work with academies and probationary employees. When these new individuals spend time with his crew, they are provided with a positive experience and given information that will hopefully move them down the road through the process. In addition to all his regular responsibilities at the station, Captain Condit must maintain his Hazardous Materials certification, putting added responsibility upon himself.
In addition to his hard work at Metro Fire, Captain Condit serves as a Metro Director with the Sacramento Area Firefighters Local 522 union. This is an elected position by his peers. Shawn has held a position within the Union for over 10 years. He is an acknowledged leader within the union, and over the last 10 years he has moved up the ranks, starting out as a shift representative and eventually moving into the elected position he currently holds. He continues to do an outstanding job of representing the union members of our organization.
As Metro Director, Captain Condit represents the membership in many different ways. During our last contract negotiation, Captain Condit demonstrated calm, consistent leadership during the negotiation and confirmation process, acting as the facilitator for these meetings. He allowed for spirited but respectful debate. During these meetings, he is often involved in matters that are sensitive in nature and does not violate confidence. It is this trustworthiness that makes him an excellent Union officer and, by extension, Company Officer.
As a Union leader he takes a positive role in a needed position. Often times, employees are referred to him by management. His ability to listen fully to their problems and then calmly and positively advise them on a course of action tends to benefit both the department and the member. He acts in the best traditions of Union leadership and through this process, the matter is often resolved at the lowest level.
To be a leader, particularly as a firefighter, your work ethic must be self-evident. Since an outstanding work ethic is common at Metro Fire it is difficult to point out where one employee’s efforts are better than another, however in the case of Captain Condit he stands out each and every day. Many excellent company officers come to work and do their assignments and perform admirably, but taking a leadership position in the Union and Haz Mat program shows that Captain Shawn Condit is willing to give of himself to this department and its members. He is well respected within the Department, the Union and his crew.
Fire Chief Todd Harms was honored to name Captain Shawn Condit as Metro Fire’s 2016 Suppression Employee of the Year.
The Sacramento Regional Transit District (Sac RT) has been relentlessly optimizing business practices over the past eight months to bring its financial house in order, and the positive results are very encouraging. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, Sac RT is trending below budget. This has allowed Sac RT to develop a budget for FY 2018 that is expected to be $1.6 million less than the prior year.
Additionally, by working diligently over the past year with rating agencies, last week Sac RT received great news from Moody’s, a bond credit rating service, that upgraded Sac RT’s bond rating from “negative” watch to “stable” outlook, which will help Sac RT to issue future bonds at a much better interest rate for regional capital projects. The significant transformation that Sac RT has made in the last year, as well as strong political support and strong board governance, is building up RT’s long-term financial stability, which will continue to move Sac RT in a new direction.
Under the direction of Henry Li, General Manager/CEO, Sac RT committed to strengthening its finances while making the system more clean, safe and convenient for riders. Sac RT has identified innovative revenue sources, strengthened its finances and reduced expenses to fund maintenance and capital investments. By aggressively containing costs and pursuing revenue enhancement opportunities, Sac RT has secured more than $3 million in operating funding, which helped enhance customer services.
“At a time when many public agencies are increasing budgets, we have been able to reduce ours. We are figuring out innovative ways to do more with less.” said Henry Li, General Manager/CEO. “Our number one priority is the customer, and the ability to reduce the annual budget without cutting service or increasing fares is a huge victory from where Sac RT was a year ago.”
Based on these positive trends, Sac RT projects to add to its fund balance for the first time in three years, and build up an emergency cash reserve of $6 million (with a 2017 year-end goal of $9 to $10 million). This will go a long way towards reducing Sac RT’s reliance on its line of credit to pay bills, a goal set by the Board of Directors.
By building strong employee and labor relations, Sac RT has been able to identify ways to reduce the annual increases associated with salaries and benefits that continue to offer value to employees, at a sustainable cost. There will only be a small increase in spending in this category for FY 2018, which is expected to be $1.95 million, or 1.8 percent, a modest amount for an organization that provides over 1,000 jobs to the region.
Long-awaited plans for renovating one of the region’s oldest private country clubs is officially underway at North Ridge Country Club, involving a $3.5 million overhaul that promises members and guests at the club alike a trail of new greens and bunkers on par with some of the finest courses in the world.
The club’s membership overwhelmingly approved the renovation plan and began the bid process for contracting roughly a year ago, ultimately selecting Palo Alto-based Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects (RTJ II) for the project, which is credited for development of more than 270 golf courses across 40 countries and six continents. “We got it down to three finalists for the design of our new course, and then we took it down to one, and RTJ II won out,” said North Ridge General Manager, Rink Sanford.
During an April 6 groundbreaking for the project, Robert T. Bruce Charlton, president and chief design officer for RTJ II, said the course would be going from good to outstanding, likening the ultimate overhaul to a “My Fair Lady” transformation, Sanford said.
“I love the quote Robert gave at our ground-breaking,” said Sanford. “He said ‘I like to compare North Ridge Country Club to a classy older woman who is beautiful and graceful, but just in need of a new dress.’ To me, his description just perfectly crystalizes what North Ridge is all about and how beautiful she really is.”
RTJII founder Robert Trent Jones, who passed away in 1987, is known for cutting trail of legendary successes in the completion of some of the country’s most notable golf courses, beginning with a winning contract to design the Peachtree Golf Club in Atlanta in collaboration with golf legend Bobby Jones, followed up by securing a commission to redesign the 11th and 16th holes at Augusta National Golf Club.
Coveted for its high-elevation and rolling terrain, North Ridge Country Club was founded in 1952 by architects William Francis Bell and his son, Billy Jr., renown for crafting elite courses at Rivera Country Club, Bel-Air Country Club and Torrey Pines, among others.
The 18-hole parkland golf course at North Ridge Country Club is spread across approximately 165 rolling green acres on Madison Avenue in Fair Oaks. Although the club’s event center and adjacent buildings were renovated in 1997, the 63-year old course itself, says Sanford, will be getting its first upgrade, a much needed makeover to keep the facility competitive with other private clubs in the region and beyond.
“This is a fine course and we have good conditions, but what we are really doing now is modernizing and making an investment in our course to stay competitive in the private club market,” Sanford said.
North Ridge was designed incorporating an old push-up mound construction method, explained Sanford, which has, over time, created drainage issues for the course, spurred by deteriorating root structures, all of which have created challenges for players and rendered the course vulnerable to erosion.
“Our forefathers picked a phenomenal place to put in a course,” said Sanford. “We are at the highest point in the area and we are blessed with a lot of rolling hills and terrain, but the old push-up method that was used to design the course originally needs to be addressed.”
Sampson said that the course’s natural elevation changes will allow RTJII to redesign the club’s greens and bunkers to take advantage of its hilly topography in ways “that were simply not possible many years ago,” adding construction of the new greens and bunkers will be achieved without disrupting mature trees that have called North Ridge home for decades.
“Today, players really want greens with solid drainage, and so what this will do for us is allow us to keep the mature trees and the rolling hills, but in and around the greens and bunkers we’ll be adding better drainage to bring the course in line with some of the most competitive, high-caliber golf courses anywhere in the world,” Sanford said.
Meanwhile, high-quality, temporary bentgrass sod greens are being created to offer members temporary greens to utilize during the construction process.
In addition to the cache of a world-class design firm capturing the bid for the renovations, the renovation project will also have a local touch. RTJII’s Senior Project Architect, Mike Gorman was raised in Sacramento and is reported to have grown up playing the course. “This is like home to us,” RTJII’s Charlton said. “We travel all around the world, and having a project near our offices in Palo Alto, with Mike’s family still living in Sacramento, makes this extra special.”
The new course is expected to officially open in early 2018, Sanford said. While there are no increases on the horizon this year for membership fees, it is anticipated that fees will increase once the new course is fully operational. The current annual membership fee for North Ridge is $6,500, however, due to the construction, which is expected to run through August, the club is offering a promotion of $4,500, which runs through June.
“The long-term hope is that once the new course is up and fully operational in early 2018, our membership price will go up, and that will be in keeping with what’s going on with other clubs and membership fees at private courses across the country,” Sanford said.
Membership at North Ridge, said Sanford, is currently at 463, near full capacity. To cover the costs of the project, members voted to each pay their share of the $3.5 million, for a total of roughly $8,000 or $60 a month each.
In a rare moment of bipartisanship, the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments unanimously voted to pass Senator Jim Nielsen’s measure to fix a security flaw the state’s voter file.
“Our democracy is an honor system based on trust,” said Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama). “We must do everything we can to protect its integrity and keep the trust of the people. This measure will help ensure that trust.”
“I thank my colleagues on the committee for their support,” added Senator Nielsen.
Senate Bill 682, if passed, would prohibit the Department Motor Vehicles (DMV) from giving the Secretary of State electronic information needed to complete the voter registration affidavit for ineligible voters who hold special drivers’ licenses for noncitizens.
California’s current online voter registration system automatically allows the voter registration of anyone with a drivers’ license who self-certifies that they are eligible to vote – including individuals DMV knows to be ineligible because they were issued special noncitizen drivers’ licenses. These noncitizen drivers’ licenses do not establish voter eligibility, yet the online voter registration system only requires a drivers’ license number. As a result, undocumented residents may be unlawfully registered to vote.
There is no protocol for communication between the Secretary of State and the Department of Motor Vehicles to prevent these registrants from being approved under current law.
“Keeping the voter roll clean and up-to-date is a challenging task. This bill helps fill a gap in the security of the voter roll,” said Candace Grubbs, Butte County Elections Clerk-Recorder.
Senator Nielsen represents the Fourth Senate District, which includes the counties of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba. To contact Senator Jim Nielsen, please call him at 916-651-4004, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.