Taxpayer loan guarantee extended to Sacramento restaurateur; The next step transforming Historic Downtown Elk Grove into another Gaslamp Quarter?


A Sacramento-based restauranteur will receive a loan guarantee for a new Historic Downtown Elk Grove establishment.

The loan guarantee is for Michael Hargis, who is in the process of opening a restaurant called Slow and Low. The facility is located on Railroad Street near the Dust Bowl tap room. 

The operator, Hargis's Slow and Low LLC, has invested $700,000 to renovate the structure at 9700 Railroad Street. Elk Grove taxpayers will guarantee an additional five-year $500,000 loan to Slow and Low to complete the project. 

By guaranteeing the loan, should Slow and Low default, taxpayers can foreclose on Sacramento real property owned by its principals, Michael and Carry Hargis, valued at $400,000, and $100,000 on equipment for the new restaurant.

The loan guarantee validates Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen's recent comments saying the transformation of Historic Downtown Elk Grove into a tourist destination is underway. The mayor said the area, formerly known as Old Town Elk Grove, has to potential to be equivalent to the internationally recognized Gaslamp Quarter in San Deigo (see video below).  

The Elk Grove City Council will adopt the loan guarantee tonight and is expected to have unanimous support from the five-member body. Tonight's Elk Grove City Council meeting starts at 6 p.m. 

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Renegade said...

A tap room and a bbq joint will NEVER equate to the Gas Lamp Quarter in San Diego. First of all, our little area of paradise, fun and entertainment has to close at 10:00pm. How's that going to work? Our young people are just starting their evening around 10 pm. I guess Bob's will be part of our Gas Lamp Quarter, while Bob's is a pleasant place to pull up a bar stool, it would never equate to the GLQ. The GLQ is full of gourmet restaurants and high end shops. We have the Red Door cast-off junk store and the Happy Garden. Those places will surely draw in people from all over the country, surely. It seems our current mayor is drinking the same Kool-Aid as a former mayor, Mr. Davis with visions of grandeur for our city.
Why don't they just take better care of us, those who vote for them and pay them? Gas Lamp Quarter, that's hilarious!!

D.J. Blutarsky said...

Just how many more millions of taxpayer dollars will be sunk into Old Town, er, "Historic Downtown Elk Grove" before our City Hall tax and spend visionaries concede defeat? Maybe a little historic perspective is in order to help move things along.

To date, taxpayers have sunk about $22 million into Historic Downtown, not to mention the Railroad Avenue properties that the City bought for top dollar and sold at big discounts.  So yes, as taxpayers who are financing this big marketing ploy, we are rightfully entitled to cast a discriminating and skeptical eye on City Hall's latest scheme.

The area formerly known as "Old Town Elk Grove" has now been rebranded as Historic Downtown Elk Grove" for marketing purposes to presumably compete with the likes of Folsom, Roseville, Placerville, and who knows where else?  So let's talk about historic.

Neither the National Register of Historic Places nor the California List of Historic Sites lists anything within "Historic Downtown Elk Grove" as having any historic merit. But, drum roll please...the State does recognize 9125 Elk Grove Blvd. as the site of the first free library in California. That and the prospect of a few tap beers and a Slow and Low bbq will surely draw the day trippers from throughout the Sacramento region, right?

So now that we have differentiated between authentic historic versus an invented marketing scheme, let's talk about the second part of the new name: Downtown. To the thousands of residents who traverse that congested two-lane portion of Elk Grove Blvd. each day, all while hoping to avoid the inevitable train delays, they would probably prefer that Historic Downtown Elk Grove NOT become the next Gaslamp Quarter! 

From its simple beginnings as a dusty stage stop to its current eclectic mix of hair salons, small eateries, residences, tattoo parlor, and a fortune teller, Old Town seems locked in as far as configuration, height, and parking capacity are concerned. Elk Grove's long history of urban sprawl has had no use for Old Town, and to now try to prop it up as our newfound Downtown is like trying to prop up dead Bernie in the movie Weekend at Bernie's.

The City can, and has bought up several parcels that the private sector market determined had no viable use. It's easy to pump taxpayer dollars into them and sell at a discount along with direct subsidies to create an artificial market for a time at least. But their recent attempt to even hold a weekly farmer's market fell flat on its turnip greens!

All I can say to those City Hall "visionaries" who are trying to convince me that Old Town is the next Gaslamp Quarter, I ask, does that come with a bridge?  Please leave my wallet out of this. Enough is enough. 

Capt. Benjamin Willard said...

Is it coincidence that Dust Bowl and now Slow and Low are both receiving loan guarantees from the city? Could it be Mr. Doan is telling these business owners well ahead of time to proceed with their projects with a wink and nod that they will get a loan guarantee?

Talk about government picking winners and losers!

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