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Business Journal: Ghost Mall Demolition, El Rey Facing Eviction, Halal Guys Dropped

Eric / Flickr

An aerial view of Elk Grove.

Eric / Flickr

Elk Grove’s Ghost Mall Saga Finally Coming To An End 

We got word this week that the so-called Ghost Mall – that cluster of unfinished retail buildings that has sat dormant for years off of Highway 99 in Elk Grove – will be demolished soon. The Sacramento Business Journal’s Scott Rodd says the Ghost Mall saga started about a decade ago when the project was dubbed the Elk Grove Promenade. 

“The shopping center had lined up a series of notable tenants, including Target, Macy’s and JCPenney,” says Rodd. “Work had started on the mall but came to abrupt halt when the economy crashed during the Great Recession. Several years later, the property was sold to Howard Hughes Corporation, which announced it planned to build an outlet mall at the site. The company made some strides toward that goal, including unanimous approval from the Elk Grove Planning Commission for the project. In 2017, the company sold 36 acres of the property to the Wilton Rancheria Tribe for a $500 million casino—but little progress had been made on the mall itself.” 

There was an important milestone this past November. That’s when Howard Hughes’ agreement with Elk Grove to develop the outlet mall at the site expired. 

“And that narrowed their options for what to do with the property,” explains Rodd. “The Business Journal had contacted Howard Hughes Corporation to learn more about the fate of the proposed mall, but never got a clear answer. Then, earlier this week, the company told the city of Elk Grove it planned to demolish the partially constructed mall.” 

CapRadio spoke with the Wilton Rancheria tribe about the demolition. The tribe said it wouldn’t have any impact on their casino plans, and that construction is expected to start later this year. But it looks like there’s still no indication of what will replace the Ghost Mall after it’s leveled. 

“According to the city of Elk Grove, the land is still zoned for a regional mall, but it could be rezoned for a different use,” says Rodd. “Howard Hughes Corporation is reportedly considering options for the property, which could include proposing new development concepts or selling the property.” 

Downtown’s El Rey Facing Eviction 

El Rey, a taqueria and nightclub on K Street in downtown Sacramento, appears to be facing eviction from its landlord. It drew a lot of attention when it opened in the summer of 2016 because of its proximity to Golden 1 Center and its ownership group, which included the former Sacramento Kings basketball player Kenny Thomas. Rodd says the bar has apparently been struggling in recent months. 

"In October, Kenny Thomas and the other owners were in a legal dispute over ownership of El Rey,” says Rodd. “Then reports emerged that the restaurant was having difficulty paying its workers. Now, the owner of the building on K Street has filed a lawsuit against El Rey, seeking to evict the restaurant and recoup over $50,000 in unpaid rent." 

The attorney for the property owner says their client is intent on taking back the premises and terminating the lease. Kenny Thomas, who now appears to be the sole owner of El Rey, has not commented publicly. 

Ice Blocks Scraps Plan for a Halal Guys Site 

In midtown Sacramento, a popular Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fast-casual restaurant chain that planned to open at the Ice Blocks development on R Streets this summer won’t be opening there after all. Rodd says The Halal Guys franchise and Ice Blocks have been in a legal tussle for months. 

"The franchise says they haven’t been given access to the premises to set up,” says Rodd, “And Ice Blocks claims the franchise owners failed to pay rent and secure the appropriate permit approvals to move forward." 

The developer of the Ice Blocks says he decided to terminate the agreement and is actively looking for a new tenant to fill the spot. The Halal Guys started as a street cart vendor in New York City in 1990 and has since expanded to dozens of restaurant locations worldwide, including one in Davis on First Street.  

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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