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Business Journal: Poor Air Likely Affecting Businesses, New Plans For Tallest Building, Sacramento Nixes Verizon Kiosks, Pot Shop Owners Look To Expand In El Dorado County

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Smoke from the Camp Fire in Butte County fills the air in Sacramento, 90 miles away.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Poor Air Quality Likely Hurting Shops, Bars And Restaurants

It's still too early to measure just how much impact the region's poor air quality is having on businesses. But people staying indoors — to avoid breathing unhealthy air from the Camp Fire — will likely drive down activity for retailers. Scott Rodd from the Sacramento Business Journal says if the poor air quality continues, bars and restaurants may see a drop in the usual Friday and Saturday night crowds.

"Beyond retail and hospitality, area health care organizations have brought in additional medical staff to treat any victims of the wildfires and accommodate overflow patients from hospitals in the areas affected by the wildfires," says Rodd.

Those health care organizations include Dignity, UC Davis and Adventist.

New Plans For Sacramento's Tallest Building

The city of Sacramento received development plans Thursday for a mixed-use tower at 301 Capital Mall, which would be the tallest building in the region. Rodd says the 33-story building, near the Tower Bridge, would include 100 apartments, several floors of office space and ground floor retail.

"The apartments units are smaller than what is typical for a project of this size, in part to ensure the units are more affordable," says Rodd. "The plans describe several types of retail tenants — such as a coffeehouse, restaurants and a fitness center."

The building would also have an elevated park overlooking Capitol Mall that would be open to the public during the day and on weekends. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System owns the site. Developer CIM Group is still looking for an anchor tenant.

No More Verizon Kiosks In The Works 

Sacramento has scrapped plans to install over a dozen large, 13-foot kiosks around town that were part of the city's deal with Verizon to deliver speedier 5-G internet service. Rodd says the kiosks were intended to help bridge the digital divide...

"Which typically means bringing internet access to disadvantaged populations that do not have reliable access," says Rodd. "The kiosks were also going to be a revenue generator for Verizon by featuring advertisements from local and national businesses."

And a portion of those revenues were intended to support free Wi-Fi internet access in parks, which was another key part of the agreement. But the city was worried the kiosks may become outdated as Verizon continues to develop new technology intended for pedestrian engagement. City officials say they're not completely ruling out kiosks or similar technology in the future, but that there are currently no plans in place.

Sacramento Pot Businesses Eyeing El Dorado County For Growth  

Some pot businesses in Sacramento are looking at expanding into El Dorado County. That's because El Dorado County voters last week approved several measures paving the way for legalized cannabis cultivation and sales. Plus, there's not much chance of growth in Sacramento since the city has reached its limit of 30 retail cannabis storefronts. Rodd says even if a new spot opens up, it's awarded based on a lottery system.

"That has made opening a storefront dispensary in Sacramento nearly impossible for entrepreneurs. But with voters greenlighting the sale of cannabis in El Dorado County, they’re seeing opportunity to set up shop in the neighboring county."

The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, however, will be taking its time. The board has at least six months to set up a system for processing applications and approving permits. And board members have the option to take longer if they want.

 business journal

Steve Milne

Morning Edition Anchor & Reporter

Steve is the Morning Edition anchor for Capital Public Radio. He covers stories on a wide range of topics including: business, education, real estate, agriculture and music.  Read Full Bio 

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