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Sentinel staff report–
Despite double-digit unemployment and uncertain economic outlook during the coronavirus pandemic, development projects across Citrus Heights can be seen moving forward.
Construction, demolition and renovations are visible from major streets like Antelope Road, Auburn Boulevard and Greenback Lane. Projects include new homes near Sunrise Mall, a burger drive-thru on Auburn Boulevard, demolition at San Juan/Greenback, improvements at a strip mall on Greenback Lane, among others.
By far, the largest project underway is the 56-acre Mitchell Farms subdivision, with construction activity at the site now visible, despite an initial halt earlier this year due to COVID-19. The development, located off Arcadia Drive, will include more than 250 homes and 20-plus acres of parks and trails.
Construction activity is also continuing on Auburn Boulevard outside Steve Cook’s Fireside Lanes, where a new Checkers burger drive-thru is being built. Owner Ben Aibuedefe told The Sentinel in April that Checkers’ drive-thru-only concept, with no indoor seating by design, is “ideal” for a time when restaurants have been forced to close indoor dining due to COVID-19.
Bowling Alley owner Steve Cook also said he’s been using the downtime to renovate the interior of his establishment. The bowling alley has been closed since March, due to county shutdown orders.
Further north on Auburn Boulevard, a new Studio Movie Grill is under construction in the former Kmart shopping center — although activity at the site has halted for several months during the pandemic. Construction activity has also been delayed for a new surgery center at the corner of Stock Ranch and Sylvan Roads, although new signage announcing the center recently appeared at the site.
In the Summerhills Plaza, near I-80 and Antelope Road, a wood frame can now be seen at the site of a future Dutch Bros coffee drive-thru. A spokesman for Cliffhaven Development Co. also confirmed plans are in the works for additional improvements at the plaza, with details to be released in the near future.
Along Greenback Lane, demolition work can be seen at the corner of San Juan Avenue where Green Acres is moving forward with its planned 75,000-square-foot retail plant nursery. Improvements are also underway at a strip mall at 6201 Greenback Ln., where three of the five suites are being converted to laundry use.
Sunrise Mall & New Sylvan
Additionally, the city continues to work on two major projects: the 100-acre Sunrise Tomorrow mall redevelopment plan, and the New Sylvan project at Sylvan Corners.
City spokeswoman Nichole Baxter told The Sentinel in an email update Friday that drafting of a specific plan to “densify and diversify” Sunrise Mall is on schedule and currently in the Environmental Impact Report phase. Over at Sylvan Corners, she said offers are still being accepted through Oct. 30 for developers interested in purchasing and developing the 11.3-acre former Sylvan Middle School site.
Economic Development Manager Meghan Huber said her team has ramped up efforts during the pandemic and has been hosting a bi-weekly meeting to help potential and current development projects move forward. She said the meetings have helped businesses “keep a clear path for development to establish Citrus Heights locations.”
The city has also been actively promoting a “Love Local” campaign to encourage residents to support local businesses and restaurants, many of which are struggling to survive amid COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions.
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