New Restaurant Soon!
From Today's Sacramento Bee.
Roseville hopes Sammy Hagar-themed restaurant can rev up downtown development
By Ed Fletcher
Published: Friday, Mar. 2, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Roseville officials are hoping an investment of $1.5 million in a Sammy Hagar-themed restaurant to be built on Vernon Street will drive further downtown development.
When the 10,000-square-foot Sammy's Rockin' Island Bar and Grill opens in September it will be the first new business brought to town using the city-created nonprofit development corporation.
The restaurant, employing 80 to 100 people, will take over the site of a former JCPenney store at 238 Vernon St.
The $1.5 million investment is a significant play for the Roseville Community Development Corp. The loan is at 4 percent interest and is due in seven years, said Kevin Payne, vice president of operations for the corporation.
While its members were picked by the City Council, the corporation meets and acts independently, making investments aimed at helping the city.
Launched in March with a $5 million loan from the city, the development corporation has taken on a more vital role with the state's dissolution of city redevelopment agencies, officials said.
The corporation has also purchased two buildings in the Vernon Street area, leaving it with $1.5 million, Payne said.
He said the new restaurant fits into the city's long-standing effort to reinvigorate its downtown area.
Payne said the development corporation evaluated the risk in investing in a restaurant before deciding to go forward. While the venture is the first for Innova Restaurant Concepts LLC, its management team has more than 60 years of restaurant experience, Payne said.
Will a large restaurant and bar be the catalyst project the city is hoping for?
"Maybe," said Bill Fulton, vice president of Smart Growth America, a coalition of nonprofit groups that advocate on growth and development issues.
"You always have to have an anchor," he said, referring to a business that replicates the role anchor stores such as JCPenney play in indoor malls. Cities have tried to use multiplex movie theaters to jump-start urban revivals, but those have lost some of their pull, Fulton said.
"A lot of cities are struggling to figure out what the next-generation attractors are."
"Sometimes it does work, you plop a restaurant in the middle of an old town and it works," Fulton said.
Payne expressed hope that a new restaurant with a full bar and live entertainment will attract other restaurants and life to the block.
"We want this to be a walkable entertainment district," Payne said.
The city is also moving ahead in May with plans to construct an outdoor town square across from City Hall.
In August, the City Council approved a three-year, $37 million package of 13 projects aimed at priming the development pump for downtown Roseville.
The development corporation is also seeking tenants for a 7,000-square-foot building adjacent to the planned new restaurant and the old post office building.
Steve Pease, lead developer of the new restaurant, said "2012 is going to be a very exiting year on Vernon Street."
Sammy's Rockin' Island Bar and Grill is a stand-alone variant of the smaller Sammy's Beach Bar and Grill, which has five locations at airports and casinos and was inspired by Hagar, a rock 'n' roll singer and guitar player.
The total cost of opening the restaurant was pegged at $3 million. Jon Yip, managing member of the restaurant group, described the food as American cuisine with an island flair.