Kmart Site Rehab Stalls as Rebounderz Bounces

Citrus Heights, CA  |  By Jacqueline Fox
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The vacant Kmart building in Citrus Heights. Photo by Jacqueline Fox

Citrus Heights, CA (MPG) - Plans for rehabilitating and renting the shuttered, 90,000-square-foot Kmart building on Auburn Boulevard in Citrus Heights have stalled as news that Rebounderz, an indoor trampoline fun center franchisor, have bailed from the project, according to city officials.

Devon Rodriguez, development specialist with the city said Rebounderz is no longer part of the development plans to convert the Kmart building into a shared space for a Big Lots and a 55,000 square-foot extreme fun center.  In January, Sacramento-based Stafford King Wiese Architects was reportedly working on obtaining design and review, as well as minor use permits, as required for the trampoline “fun park,” and anticipated construction for the project to begin by summer, with openings for both Rebounderz and Big Lots by early 2018. 

According to Casey Kempenaar, senior planner with the city, those permits were approved, including a green light for Rebounderz to be open 24 hours.  However, Rodriguez said the property owner, New York-based CHC QRS 11 70 INCORP, is now planning to sell the property to a different retail developer and Rebounderz has pulled its plans to come in.  

Calls to the owner on record of the property were not returned and Rodriquez said she did not know the name of the new developer now eyeing the site.  It is unclear at this point if Big Lots is still a potential tenant, she said.

“Rebounderz is no longer part of the project,” said Rodriguez.  “The property owners are now in contract to sell the property to a retail developer and they are not able to share any tenant names at this time, but we are hoping to hear some news in the next couple of weeks.”

Repeated calls to Stafford King Wiese for comment on the Kmart development were not returned.

Auburn Boulevard is seeing development momentum.  Crepes & Burgers opened its doors in spring, followed by Maita Mazda’s move to a new 40,000-square foot facility in May and the auto group has announced plans to upgrade the Mazda dealership at 2410 Auburn Blvd.  In addition, Checkers Burgers is now slated to occupy the vacant lot at Auburn and Grand Oaks boulevards.  Roseville resident Ben Aibuedefe, said the area’s lower rents and future plans for revitalizing the boulevard and its current retail structures, was a big draw for his new Checkers franchise.

But it is possible prospective tenants for the larger lots, where there are still several other vacant retail buildings, are holding off until they see a more cohesive rehabilitation plan come together for the high-traffic Auburn Boulevard corridor.  The first of a two-phase Auburn Boulevard Complete Streets Revitalization Project was completed in 2014.  As part of a sweeping plan to revitalize Auburn Boulevard from Sylvan corners to Interstate 80, Phase 1 involved moving utility cables underground and shoring up frontage easements, the planting of roughly 230 new trees, construction of some 10,000 feet of bike lanes and new sidewalks, as well as the installation of new energy-efficient street lights.

Phase II is expected to begin in 2019, however, funding for that stretch is not in place at this point, according to the city’s Kempenaar.  Meanwhile, many shuttered retail spaces in the Kmart center, and at other points along that stretch of Auburn Boulevard remain vacant, not necessarily the best draw for new business.

“There is no money for the second phase right now for that,” said Kempenaar.  “It’s a huge project, stretching from Rush Park to the city limits with Roseville, so it’s a process that takes time. Right now, we don’t have the funding to do the second phase, which was not part of our annual budget. Typically for projects like this one, we go out for grants.” 

Those grants have previously come from the Sacramento Area of Governments, which Kempenaar said has a very competitive application process for funding.

The Kmart lot had previously been earmarked for a new hotel for Citrus Heights, however that plan also failed to gain traction, and Big Lots and Rebounderz came in to play.  The Citrus Heights location for Rebounderz would have marked the Sanford, Florida-based company’s first foray into to the Sacramento region.  It was to include multiple trampoline areas for children and adults alike, birthday party and special event spaces, obstacle and fitness courses, food and beverage and a retail store. 

Rebounderz opened its first location, part of a franchise model, in 2008 and has approximately 10 locations, including one in Panama.  Calls to Big Lots for an update on their plans for the Kmart development were not returned.