|This former video store is being |
converted to a themed pizza restaurant.
One of the numerous problems that has plagued Elk Grove since the credit collapse and the onset of the Great Recession has been excessive vacant retail space. While much of the excess came from never-occupied retail space built purely on speculation, not to mention the half-built Elk Grove Promenade, much came available from business failures.
Such was the case with numerous Blockbuster video stores and the Hollywood Video pictured here on E. Stockton Blvd. While the space in the Marketplace 99 strip center has been vacant the last couple of years, a recent sign on the building announced the coming of a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant.
Since then, the front of the building has been torn down and heavy equipment has been excavating what appears to be an expansion of the space. So is this a sign of recovery?
It might be. According to Elk Grove Economic Development Coordinator Heather Ross the city is experiencing an uptick in inquiries.
"We are hearing from brokers as well as existing and prospective business owners with questions about retail, office and industrial space," Ross said. "Many of these inquiries have led to the opening or relocation of numerous businesses."
While Ross was unable to provide data regarding vacancy rates in the city, she said compared to other cities in the region Elk Grove has very few large previously occupied spaces vacant.
"We are encouraged by the fact that we have only two large vacancies currently (the former Gottschalks and Borders) while many other cities have a multitude of large retail spaces lying vacant," she added.
So while local foodies, chain-aversion restaurant goers and any parent with children older than eight or nine will no doubt avoid the Chuck E. Cheese like they would an over-eager insurance salesman, having them here sure beats another vacant space.
Let's just hope all the parents taking kids there don't forget to take their kids home.