A proposal to turn the former Kmart building into a Public Storage self-storage facility while filling the remaining property for a Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, Dutch Bros Coffee shop, and Quik Stop convenience store and gas station, will be considered by the Ceres Planning Commission on Monday evening.
The development proposal for the northeast corner of Hatch Road and Herndon Avenue requires a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) and approval of a vesting tentative parcel map to create six commercial zoned parcels out of the single 9.02-acre site.
In August the city indicated that it was working with a developer to reuse the 84,000-square-foot Kmart building which has been vacant for three years. The building was constructed in 1976.
City officials are supportive of the application but disappointed that a retailer could not be found to fill the former Kmart site. But as Senior Planner James Michaels put it, it’s better than nothing.
“It’s been vacant three years so you kind of think, what are the options?” said Senior Planner James Michaels. “You know, we tried to encourage big box businesses to come in but we hadn’t heard anything, any interest from a Target or anything that would be willing to come in. The thing I like about it is at a very minimum we’re getting two new commercial users that we don’t even have in Ceres.”
Oryom Ventures, LLC, and Doya Ventures, LLC, won approval earlier this year to adjust the property line shared between two properties at 1351 E. Hatch Road and 1319 Herndon Road.
The applicant, Evergreen Devco, Inc. began contacting staff in January indicating that they had interest in purchasing the property to redevelop the site with multiple commercial users.
The six lots will range in size from 0.36 acres to 4.88 acres.
The Public Storage self-storage facility would be situated on 4.88 acres, which includes 45 parking spaces with landscaped areas. In addition to using the former retail space for storage, plans are to build four additional self-storage buildings sized at 22,121, 5,041, 2,481 and 2,481 square feet, for a total storage building area of 116,624 square feet.
Raising Cain’s will be sized at 3,267 square feet on 1.38 acres in size with a drive-thru operation and 83 parking spaces.
The building for the Dutch Bros. coffee shop will be small at 950 square feet with the 0.60-acre parcel accommodating a drive-thru operation and 13 parking spaces.
The 5,828-square-foot Quik Stop building and gas island is proposed to be constructed just east of the existing bus stop along Herndon Avenue. The Quik Stop building will be sized for additional retail uses. While the architectural renderings show the building with signs for Sbarro Pizza, Michaels is unsure if they were just placed for illustrative purposes. The Quik Stop parcel of 1.09 acres has been drawn with 47 parking spaces.
Two other parcels have not been claimed by any specific businesses but are earmarked for a 2,500-square-foot restaurant with drive-thru and 39 parking spaces; as well as a 1,500-square-foot oil change shop and seven parking spaces. Michaels said the developer believes it can easily market those sites for users.
In its report to the commission, city planning staff supports the project “as it creates potential business opportunities for Ceres, it will provide the local area residents with additional shopping opportunities, and it will provide attractive building frontages that are readily visible from Hatch Road, Herndon Avenue, and Highway 99.”
An economic impact study of the proposed development indicates that the project will be valued at $20 million once completed with the potential to bring the city over $37,000 in annual property tax revenue alone and over $119,000 in sales tax revenue and more than $10,000 in sales tax revenue generated by what the employees of those businesses will spend in Ceres.
According to Michaels, other groups had approached the city about only turning the Kmart shell into a mini-storage facility without doing anything with the rest of the property and were told no.
Michaels said he believes the public will be excited about Ceres getting a Raising Cane’s Chicken and a Dutch Bros and that the commissioners will support the project.
“The alternative would be if they don’t approve it there’s a good chance it will remain vacant and not get used and become a blighted area,” said Michaels of the old Kmart site.
Raising Cane’s first opened in 1996 in Baton Rouge, La., and has recently expanded into the Bay area and the Central Valley market with restaurants in Manteca, Fresno and Tulare. Locations are planned for Berkeley, Hayward, Citrus Heights, Elk Grove and Stockton. The restaurant serves chicken fingers, French fries, coleslaw, and Texas toast.