Sacramento Bee, The (CA)
Edition: METRO FINAL
Car dealer hopes bazaar will boost business
He plans a weekend open-air market to lure customers back from big auto malls.
Capitol City Chevrolet owner Paul Blanco
has a plan to win back business that his dealership is losing to giant auto malls in the region: He'll build his own mall.
unlike his clustered competitors, Blanco's mall would be a fashionable
weekend bazaar - "Please don't call it a flea market," he says - with
hundreds of small vendors selling their wares in a European-themed
setting on what is now mostly vacant acreage he controls behind his car
The idea has drawn mixed reactions from neighbors, city officials and some businesses along Florin Road.
figure an outdoor market would draw consumers to a historically
troubled area that has made recent strides to battle crime and fill
formerly empty storefronts.
Others worry that the market would
turn into a flea market, become a magnet for crime and hurt neighboring
businesses with wind-blown trash, clogged parking lots and traffic
congestion at the Florin Road and Franklin Boulevard intersection where
Blanco does business.
"The alternative will be closing the
dealership and getting another one at an auto mall," Blanco said. "And
then I'd put a salvage yard in (the Florin Road dealership's) place."
City Chevrolet has lost millions of dollars in the past few years,
Blanco says, and General Motors has told him his business loses 800
sales per year to nearby auto malls. Blanco said he believes the bazaar,
dubbed the Sacramento Fresh Air Market, will pull buyers back to his
showroom and energize his end of Florin Road.
The market would
feature 610 vendor spaces that would be open on Saturday and Sunday from
6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission would be $1 for adults and 50 cents for
children. Those taking light rail or the bus would get in for free.
gate receipts - nearly $500,000 per year, Blanco estimates - would fund
student scholarships or community projects. He plans to use profits
from booth rentals to refurbish his car dealership.
LPA Sacramento, the architectural firm behind the upscale Pavilions
shopping center on Fair Oaks Boulevard, drew the market's plans with
on-site parking for 536 vehicles, a food court, trees and other
amenities. Future phases would include a restaurant, an antique mall and
a car showroom.
Customers also would be able to park in a
shopping center lot on the south side of Florin Road, and crossing
guards would assist pedestrians across the street.
that he has already spent more than $150,000, on the project, including
$37,500 for a traffic impact study that will be completed sometime next
month. From there, he will take the idea to the city planning commission
for a building permit. The first phase will cost $650,000, he
At a special Friday board meeting of the Florin Road
Partnership business group, members heard and gave comments about the
project before taking a vote on whether to support it.
concerned about security," said nearby resident Frank DeSart. "What
happens when gangs meet up, flash signs or look cross-eyed at someone?"
Partnership board member Tom Burruss had a different concern.
"What happens if this doesn't take place?" he asked. "What happens if Paul has to close his place? What happens then?"
a three-hour mediated discussion, the board voted unanimously to
support Blanco's plan, satisfied that it would be a plus to Florin Road.
was a thorny issue and a lot of the board members were initially
divided over it," said partnership executive director Larry Carr. "The
message the board sent can be summed up in a single phrase: Provide us
with a project that's done right."
The Bee's Jon Ortiz can be reached at (916) 321-1043 or email@example.com.
Sacramento Bee / Nam Nguyen (map)
Stalled car sales prompt mall plan
Capitol City Chevrolet owner Paul Blanco
says that he's losing sales to auto mall dealerships, forcing him to
push for a mall of his own - an upscale bazaar he's calling an "open-air
mall" on 12 acres behind his dealership at Florin Road and Franklin
THE FRESH AIR MARKET
Parcel size: 12 acres
Vendor spaces: 610
On-site parking spaces: 536
Off-site parking spaces: 600, with 500 more in negotiation
Permanent buildings: Food court; two indoor sales pavilions, a restaurant and an antique mall.
Sources: Capitol City Chevrolet; LPA Sacramento
Sacramento Bee / Nam Nguyen
Open-air market impact
Below are the revenue and sales tax numbers for Paul Blanco
's Capitol City Chevrolet business, and projections for coming years with the open-air market in place.
'05: $36.7 million
'08: $63.3 million*
SALES TAX COLLECTED
'05: $2.5 million
'08: $3.7 million
'05: -$0.45 million
'08: $1 million*
Source: Capitol City Chevrolet