By Adrienne Moore

CITRUS HEIGHTS (CBS13) — There’s a new vendor inside the Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights.

It isn’t a store, it’s a stage, and it’s part of a plan to reimagine the troubled retail space.

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The stage is for Royal Stage Christian Performing Arts. The nonprofit theatre has studio space in Roseville but no stage, forcing actors to perform in alternative spots like churches and even parking lots.

“This space is the biggest blessing. We’ve been nomadic for 10 years,” said Royal Stage founder Tamera Warta.

The new 8,500-square-foot theatre seats 200 with plans stretching far beyond performances.

“We want to do family-friendly open mic nights, where people can come and share their talents and be involved, and [it can be] just a good place for the community,” Warta said.

City leaders in Citrus Heights say the theatre is “perfectly cast” for the mall’s future plans. In November, the city council approved a revitalization plan that includes rezoning for retail, residential and multi-family development.

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“A really important component of that is arts and culture. So it’s a really exciting addition and shows that the plan is at work,” said Meghan Hueber, the manager of economic development with the City of Citrus Heights.

But will the mall itself be altered?

“It’s fluid and depends entirely on market demand,” Hueber said.

The city told us it’s a 20-year plan and they expect developers to build on 75 acres of empty parking lots first, but the plan allows for alterations to the mall.

Royal Stage Christian Performing Arts said it is happy and hopeful to play its part in the re-imagining of the struggling mall space.

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“We’re just excited to be at the center of the community here and get to meet a lot of people,” Warta said.

Adrienne Moore