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By Thomas J. Sullivan–
Recent news of Toys R Us making a comeback and rumors on social media have left some speculating that Hobby Lobby may have pulled out of plans to open a new Citrus Heights location.
But recent filings with the Citrus Heights Building and Safety Division show plans are still progressing for Hobby Lobby to take up the 40,000-square-foot former Toys R Us store at 7800 Greenback Ln.
Hobby Lobby submitted building plans and drawings to the city on Feb. 20, and have since revised and resubmitted plans on two additional occasions to address building code issues identified by the city, according to Susan McLendon, development services technician for the building department.
Most recently, on June 25, Hobby Lobby re-filed their building permit application and drawings, which McLendon said are now under review.
“The department is fully ready to issue building permits for this project once these specific building code issues in the recent project submission are met,” McClendon told The Sentinel.
In early January, Diane Gudahl, Hobby Lobby special projects manager, confirmed that a lease at the Greenback location had been signed. At the time, Hobby Lobby’s press office said no formal opening date had yet been officially set but projected the store would open “sometime in the fall of 2019.”
A spokesperson for Hobby Lobby contacted by The Sentinel this week was unavailable for comment.
Kathilynn Carpenter, executive director of the Sunrise Marketplace, said she was aware of the ongoing building permit review process issues faced by Hobby Lobby’s project managers and expressed confidence that construction at the former Toys R Us site will begin soon. A tentative opening is likely by the end of September, she said.
The new Citrus Heights Hobby Lobby store will be the second location in the immediate area, with the nearest store at 1815 Douglas Blvd. in Roseville. Toys R Us closed its Citrus Heights store on June 29, 2018, following the company filing for bankruptcy.
According to multiple news stories from various outlets, Toys R Us is now expected to make a comeback, but with a vision for much smaller stores of about 10,000 square feet in size.
Property records show the former Toys R Us building was constructed in 1978 and sits on a five-acre parcel, with a large parking lot in the front. The property is owned by the Cordano family, which owns property and development companies in the Sacramento region.
The Citrus Heights Hobby Lobby store is expected to bring 35-50 new jobs to the area. Once an opening date is set, the company will make hiring information available at its web site at careers.hobbylobby.com.
According to the company, an estimated 65 new Hobby Lobby store locations are expected to open in 2019 nationwide, and another 16 stores will relocate, creating approximately 2,500 – 3,000 jobs. Hobby Lobby currently has over 840 stores across the nation.
Hobby Lobby, headquartered in Oklahoma City, is primarily an arts-and-crafts store but also includes hobby supplies, picture framing, jewelry making, fabrics, floral and wedding supplies, cards and party ware, baskets, wearable art, home accents and holiday merchandise. The privately-owned retailer has approximately 32,000 employees and operates in 47 states.
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