Reporting Nick Janes
NATOMAS (CBS13) – Two once-prominent businesses in Natomas that have been collecting dust for years could soon once again be bustling with customers.
Both businesses are on North Freeway Boulevard. We’re talking about the old Center Court, Chris Webber’s failed restaurant venture, and the old Sam’s Club across the way.
Let’s start with the old Center Court where that “Available Now” sign could be coming down soon amid speculation a certain well-known sports bar could be on the way.
“Oh, I’d be thrilled,” shopper Patty Galvez said Tuesday when told of the potential new tenant. “I think that’d be wonderful!”
“Oooh, OK!” said Lupe Magana, who manages a Sports Clips nearby.
If these happily surprised reactions are any indication, a new restaurant in the old Center Court space would be a slam dunk.
“It’s bringing business back in here,” Galvez said. “As you know, there’s a few empty places. We need business, we need somewhere to go, have drinks, visit and have good food.”
Nothing’s final yet, but a source tells CBS13 sports bar chain Buffalo Wild Wings is in talks to open up at the location. It’s reason for hope in the quiet Natomas shopping center that has several vacant storefronts.
“We used to have a lot of traffic here,” Magana said.
Businesses say they’ve taken a big hit since Webber’s restaurant closed suddenly in November 2009. Sports Clips didn’t have a single customer Tuesday afternoon when CBS13 stopped in. The manager thinks that’ll all change if Wild Wings moves in.
“Lot of more business for sure,” magana said.
Just across the street, Ashley Furniture has reportedly purchased the old Sam’s Club space. They’ll take over the 135,000-square-foot store that has been vacant since January 2010.
Buffalo Wild Wings and Ashley Furniture – two possible signs of a business boom as Natomas tries to climb out of the recession.
“Yes, it is quiet, a sign of our economy,” Galvez said. “Hopefully, things will get moving a little bit.”