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New shopping center rising
Ono Hawaiian BBQ, Starbucks, Chipotle in framing stage
Ono Hawaiian BBQ Ceres
Framing is taking place for the Ono Hawaiian BBQ just south of the Walmart Supercenter. It is one of the first buildings that have begun appearing in the Ceres Gateway Center at Mitchell and Service roads. - photo by Jeff Benziger

If you’ve driven on Highway 99 or Mitchell and Service roads you’ve probably noticed two stick buildings with plywood sheathing poking above the green perimeter screening. What you are seeing is the first two businesses of the Ceres Gateway Center.

The building which is being constructed along Service Road opposite the Walmart Supercenter is Ono Hawaiian BBQ while the building just to the north of what will be the Mitchell Road entrances to the shopping center is going to be a Starbucks.

Work has also started on the Chipotle building which will be located a bit west of the Ono Hawaiian BBQ.

“I believe In-N-Out will be starting soon but they’re building their own building,” said David Zylstra of Zylstra Commercial, Inc.

The center will build and own the buildings for some of the tenants, he explained.

“We’re giving all of these tenants the ability to open before the end of the year,” he told the Courier.

Site work began in December on the 13.65-acre Gateway Center which will also bring In-N-Out Burger, Chipotle, Circle K store and a Quick Quack Car Wash to Ceres. Additional buildings will offer space for retailers and junior anchors.

Quick Quick will be the business closest to the Service Road overpass.

Construction on Phase 1 has an estimated completion by the fall.

The center will be accessible from Service Road and a new entrance to be constructed on Mitchell Road.

The Ono Hawaiian BBQ restaurant places what was originally intended to be a Panda Express restaurant. It will consist of 2,192 square feet and include a drive-thru.

An In-N-Out Burger will be constructed at the very corner of the intersection.

Details about the uses in the second phase will be announced later, said Zylstra. Once completed, the center is expected to consist of approximately 127,000 square feet of retail space.

Developers want to build a 64,000-square-foot hotel of 80 rooms but those plans have hit a snag. The unnamed hotel chain wants to build a hotel that would exceed the city’s height limit of 35 feet for the Regional Commercial (RC) zone. City of Ceres Senior Planner James Michaels said the hotel building could be as tall as 45 or 50 feet. The idea unsettled councilmembers like Mike Kline fearing that the building would prevent highway travelers from viewing the budding commercial area and the Walmart Supercenter. The Ceres Planning Commission has no problem allowing taller buildings but the Ceres City Council on voted against the change. Knowing their decision could nix a hotel project, city staff pledges to go over the council’s objections on May 9.

In 2008 the city approved the Gateway project as proposed by Ralph Ogden. The project stalled after the economy hit the skids that year. Multiple extensions were granted but the approval for the project expired in 2012. The center was redesigned and brought back in 2020 by Ralph’s son, Daniel Ogden.