Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Crossings at El Dorado phase 1 begins; more to come: 400,000 square feet planned


LEONARD GRADO talks to a group Dec. 11 about the new building and plans for a larger retail project called The Crossings. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins

From page A1 | December 20, 2013 | 46 Comments

A new development project in El Dorado County got a christening party Dec. 11 as Leonard Grado and his partners celebrated construction of their new building at 3916 Missouri Flat Rd in Placerville.

Part of what’s called The Crossings at El Dorado, the office building marks the beginning of a $65 million dollar, 70-acre project that will eventually add 400,000 square feet of retail space and a projected 1,000 new jobs to El Dorado County.

Present for the ceremony was Supervisor Brian Veerkamp and former board member Jack Sweeney. Grado said others invited included planning commissioners, title officers, lenders, members of the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce and community members.

Divided into three phases, phase 1 of the development will consist of 107,070 square feet of retail space plus a restaurant. Construction is expected to start in April of 2014 and be completed by April 2015.

Grado said 95 percent of phase 1 is already preleased. Firms signed up as tenants include Michaels, Sports Authority, Home Goods, PetCo, and another larger tenant they are currently negotiating with. He said they are also talking to Wendy’s, Pollo Loco, Panera Bread and Verizon.

Grado anticipates that tenants in phase 1 will bring in 300 new jobs to the area.

Phase 2 will add another 110,500 square feet of retail space. While no specific tenants are lined up for that part of the project, Grado said the synergy of the first phase will attract them to the new center. “Businesses are looking to establish a storefront in this county,” he said.

Phase 3 will consist of 148,000 square feet of additional retail space. Grado said plans include adding a hotel or two during phase 2 or 3. “We’re severely lacking in hotel rooms in the county,” he said. “It would benefit Apple Hill and the wineries immensely. People could come up for the weekend and stay rather than come for the day and leave.”

By 2018, all three phases of the project are expected to be completed with a total of 1,000 new jobs added to the area and an additional $1.5 million to $2 million of tax increment going to the county. “That’s a huge amount of money,” Grado said.

The new building where the ceremonies were held is part of a separate entitlement that fits into phase 1 of the project. Designed using a Craftsman-style motif, the interior of the $3 million building is only partially complete and won’t be finished until mid-March of next year. However, its main tenant, the local Social Security office, is already operating there, taking up about 70 percent of the 12,200-square-foot building.

Once finished, Tan Central and All About Me will relocate from the Kmart center to the new building as well. Grado said a financial services firm may take the remaining space in the building but that’s still being negotiated.

“Aesthetically, the whole project will be mirrored by this building,” said Grado, noting that the christening party gave everyone a chance to see what the rest of the project will look like when built out.

The Crossings at El Dorado is actually the old Sundance Shopping Center project that was approved back in 1998. However, it’s been reduced in scale from 535,000 to 400,000 square feet. “We are preserving all the wetland area that was previously going to be filled,” he said.

Saying that he and his partners felt this was the right time to move ahead with the project, he noted, “When tenants say we’re ready to go, we rely significantly on their judgment. Bank rates are still favorable for lending and we have good lenders for the project. They like that the project is national tenant driven. It’s difficult to get funding for non-publicly traded companies. That’s what drives the ship — when the tenants say we’re ready to go, we’re ready to build for them.”

Grado added that there is a huge need for retail in the county.

“We spend far too much money in Folsom and Sacramento County. And it impacts the bottom line of the county, the freeway and our daily lives,” he said. “Plus we don’t get the benefit of the jobs or the tax revenues. We’ve done three different studies — a couple commissioned by the county and one by ourselves — that $600 million a year in retail sales are going out of El Dorado County annually. We need to do everything we can to prevent that from happening.”

The developer said this new project will benefit the small mom-and-pop stores in the area as well. “People tend to do their retailing all in one area. So, if they make a major purchase in one area, they will buy other things as well and eat there too. There’s a saying that a rising tide lifts all boats, and that’s true. It’s also keeps our dollars in this county.”

Responding to concerns residents have about preserving the rural nature of the county, Grado noted that, “Only two-tenths of 1 percent of the land area of El Dorado County is zoned commercial, which includes office, high-density residential, industrial and retail. We need to protect revenue generators because even if small in area, they need to be developed for the benefit of the county. I moved here because I was tired of driving the freeways in Southern California. Locating more retail here means less driving for residents. It also maintains the rural environment by reducing commute time and creates a sense of place where the bulk of the population can be where they want to be in five minutes.”

Aside from The Crossings being a place to shop, Grado sees it as a destination in itself, saying they are using a town center approach in its design. “It will be a place where people go for events,” he said. “There will be a large plaza area of 2 to 3 acres that we can use for a farmer’s market or other events. We want something unique that will draw people in for more than just shopping.

“We have a lot of pride of ownership of our projects, but it’s not easy. People are very opinionated about how they want the county to stay. But if we intend to keep our kids, we have to provide something they think is worthwhile to stay for such as restaurants, clubs, bowling alleys and other kinds of venues. There has to be something to keep young families here because they are the heart and soul of the community.

“I think El Dorado County needs to be focused on sustaining itself and it can only do it by creating jobs and the market environment to do that and that’s exactly what this does,” he said. “When it’s at full build out, it will chip away at the dollars leaving the county and provide more jobs for youths. It will provide $65 million of construction work for the county and $1.5 million to $2 million in taxes to the county. And more retail will help existing businesses.

“This project really is a game changer for this area,” he emphasized.

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.


Discussion | 46 comments

  • JimBoDecember 19, 2013 - 4:02 pm

    I see Grado's secret partner, an ex-supervisor sitting in the back next to the window! Picture is worth 1,000 words!

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  • Really?December 20, 2013 - 9:56 pm

    Not sure how secret since they had their beginnings in partnering to develop Big 5.

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  • JimBoDecember 19, 2013 - 4:03 pm

    Funny, there was a Board of Supervisors Clossed Session meeting a few months ago discussing suing Grado for millions.

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  • AaronJanuary 20, 2014 - 6:11 pm

    What happened to the talk about a lawsuit against Grado?

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  • JimBoDecember 19, 2013 - 4:15 pm

    If you want to see all the illegal grading activity that occurred prior to being issued a County grading plan, just log onto Google Earth and use the historical feature to scroll through various aerials that show mountains of grading, stock piling and removal of oak trees prior to any County permits.

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  • Pat MonahanDecember 19, 2013 - 8:25 pm

    This is very good for El Dorado County, Placerville, and more specifically, the residents who choose to live here! We can no longer sit back and become nothing more than a service and retirement community. We want to have families here, but there very few professional and career minded opportunities. We watch jobs, careers, tax dollars etc. continue to funnel westward down 50 into the city of Folsom and other parts of Sacramento County. This County needs to develop avenues of sustainable recurring revenues. This County needs to explore, develop, and promote opportunities of professional development for our young adults. This is definitely a step in the right direction! Good Job to all who have played a part in making this a reality!

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  • Fran DuchampDecember 20, 2013 - 9:33 am

    "sustainable" jobs--like AG? Technology is NOT sustainable. so people didnt come here for the "rural" area? They came to create a huge city? Los angeles, New York, Chicago...all started small. I thought the general plan was suppose to protect AG? Last I herad...bringing the Population closer to farms--upsets the animals. Hotels up here--we are on septic...we are on lava cap...

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  • Really?December 20, 2013 - 9:46 pm

    We are on asbestos

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  • Fran DuchampDecember 22, 2013 - 7:49 am

    really--I read the articles where you are on natural asbestos--that should not be disturbed.

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  • TomHDecember 20, 2013 - 5:14 am

    Wouldn't it be great if they could get an Apple computer store here. Save a 45 min trip to Roseville. Better yet, provide good jobs and bring lots of customers to the Placerville area.

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  • Fran DuchampDecember 20, 2013 - 7:43 am

    And here it is folks...why the small unelected groups are talking about hotels in Pollock and Camino. "Phase 3 will consist of 148,000 square feet of additional retail space. Grado said plans include adding a hotel or two during phase 2 or 3. “We’re severely lacking in hotel rooms in the county,” he said. “It would benefit Apple Hill and the wineries immensely. People could come up for the weekend and stay rather than come for the day and leave.”...we have a couple now in Pollock--that do not fill up. People stay in Placerville--and drive up. Did someone miss that...lololol. If they want to stay in the woods--they go to Tahoe...and since they are already there--they shop there.

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  • Kristy CrowderDecember 20, 2013 - 8:48 am

    Since this is going to happen, I hope the stores that are coming will be the full size versions, not the smaller versions that our county always seems to get. The smaller versions tend to run out of things, or not carry all of the items the larger versions have, so we end up shopping down the hill anyway.

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  • LpDecember 20, 2013 - 8:42 am

    What about all the empty retail space we already have?

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  • Fran DuchampDecember 22, 2013 - 7:56 am

    exactly LP...stores that are closed --due to lack of consumers? The people saying more business forgot the consumer...they raise prices on items--yet no one wants to pay more wages...consumer can only "survive" not buy extra things. There are different ways for the AG communities to add jobs as one is mentioning those kinds of jobs.

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  • FrederickDecember 20, 2013 - 9:09 am

    Placerville NEEDS the following: Costco (or Sams) Target Trader Joe's If we get those 3 I will never leave El Dorado County.

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  • CarlaDecember 20, 2013 - 10:09 am

    Trader Joe's!!!

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  • Really?December 20, 2013 - 8:37 pm

    So will you leave it they don't come?

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  • Fran DuchampDecember 20, 2013 - 9:25 am

    Fury and frustration over Target data breach "The fury and frustration come as the nation’s second-largest discounter acknowledged Thursday that data connected to about 40 million credit and debit card accounts was stolen as part of a breach that began over the Thanksgiving weekend." By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO AND BREE FOWLER / AP Business Writers / December 20, 2013

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  • cpresidentDecember 20, 2013 - 10:15 am

    Why doesn't Fran like progress? I like the comparison that more retail in Placerville is the beginning of us becoming a major metro area with millions of people. I cannot wait for more retail options so more of my sales tax dollars can stay in EDC versus going to Folsom, Roseville, etc.

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  • Really?December 20, 2013 - 8:47 pm

    So with at least another $120 million needed for Grado's public funded infrastructure and with the county"getting" 1 to 2 million dollars from the are the tax dollars going to help the county?

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  • Dee#1December 20, 2013 - 10:46 am

    While we are wishful thinking, how about a Macy's, Nordstroms, or Neiman- Marcus?

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  • Jeri WaggonerDecember 20, 2013 - 1:52 pm

    Being a lifelong resident (50 yrs) and 5th generation in El Dorado County, I think it's great to have businesses come in that will actually provide something to do, besides stores and more fast food restaurants... We used to have a skating rink (rickety as it was - we still had a lot of fun there), a bowling alley, a walk-in theater downtown. And, it didn't cost a small fortune to go to any of them. Now what is there? A movie theater that will cost you about $20 each to see a crappy movie... Placerville needs something that provides activities for our families, our young people, our seniors, everyone and a venue in which to do things, like El Dorado Hills Town Center. I am looking forward to seeing what kinds of businesses will go in. So, for my wish list - Costco, Trader Joes, Rubios, a bowling alley and a skating rink (or some other sports centered business - basketball, batting cages, mini golf...). Re hotels - how many people do you think even realize there are hotels in Pollock Pines?? I barely remember they're there. Your other choices are expensive and ok or expensive and run down... I think this is exciting and positive!

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  • Fran DuchampDecember 20, 2013 - 3:29 pm

    The bowling Alley in Pollock is run by a really hard working family...if another goes up in Placerville--it will totally put this family out of business...for people saying they are for small business ...why does a "bowling alley keep coming up? I have nothing against progress--I hate when people do not understand that there are people affected by their choices. Why did people come to a rural area--to change it to urban? All you have to do is drive 50 miles...and you can have all the city life you want...why not keep focusing on rural opportunities that visitors--who no longer have farms and ranches come to see? If you try to make it the same--why come here? Are the people trying to market this place just trying to talk people out of their money?...yes...lololol...come on...walkable communities is an urban theory--it already exists. Whatever, I love that someday I will get to say "I told you so." Read.

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  • cpresidentDecember 20, 2013 - 9:19 pm

    Fran - To say the bowling alley in Pollock will close just because they will get competition is off-base, as is your hope that you get to say "I told you so" someday. You are right, the family from Oregon that took over the bowling alley is great, and they are smart enough to make sure that if another place pops up in this county, they will be able to continue to do business. As a life-long resident, I look forward to the future opportunities while continuing to support those that you feel will not benefit from this development.

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  • Really?December 20, 2013 - 9:53 pm

    I pretty much doubt that you will be seeing a bowling alley at this development. It won't meet the "Highest and Best Use" motto of this developer.

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  • Fran DuchampDecember 22, 2013 - 7:47 am

    cpresident....I just know the family from Pollock...I worked with one of them for many years. No one said they were not "smart"...and times are tough for all. You are living in this county right? I live five mins from this alley...and I know they would love more people there (we have worked together on fund raisers.) You support what you feel is right..population decides "rural" vs "urban." And the picture above looks like any "urban" mall across the US.

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  • Martha Skye MartinDecember 21, 2013 - 11:47 am

    There was the bowling alley on Placerville Drive long ago. Did it impact the one in Pollock?

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  • Fran DuchampDecember 20, 2013 - 3:54 pm

    "Mr. Grado’s recent focus has been in El Dorado County where he is currently involved in more than $160 million of commercial, office, and residential product. These projects include: “Diamond Dorado Retail Center” $35 Million, “The Crossings at El Dorado”$85 Million, “Creekside Retail” $12 Million, “Diamond Springs Retail” $4.2 Million, “Forni Center Retail Plaza” $10.5 Million, and “Greenwood Hills” $14 Million, a master planned community consisting of 265 single family residential units." I told someone once that these walkable communities has the feel of home...LA, Redondo, Palos Verdes <------these are places my family lives .lolol...Palos Verdes Properties Inc.

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  • CharlieDecember 20, 2013 - 9:35 pm

    I wonder if the millions of dollars he is involved in consists of private money or public money.

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  • Ralph MastersDecember 20, 2013 - 9:39 pm

    Yeah, let's contribute to the global Chinese market, I can't wait.

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  • Really?December 20, 2013 - 8:53 pm

    I wonder if Leonard Grado ever paid his debt owed to the County:

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  • Phil VeerkampDecember 20, 2013 - 9:07 pm

    HTTP ERROR 404 Problem accessing /service/home/~/. Reason: no such item

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  • Really?December 20, 2013 - 9:25 pm

    16. 13-1164 Conference with Legal Counsel - Initiation of Litigation pursuant to Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(4). Title: Potential Litigation by County vs. Leonard Grado and associated entities. Number of potential cases: (1). (Est. Time: 10 Min.) No Action Reported.

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  • ObservationDecember 21, 2013 - 7:40 am

    It is hard to comprehend 15 years from project approval to start of construction. That makes this project a personal commitment. The question remains at which geographical area are people willing to drive "up", not "down" to spend money? EDH is clearly Sacramento oriented, hello 916 area code, so is Cameron Park the transition zone? The economics change if there is a reversal in the historical traffic flows. This means the retailers and the developer need to prove a concept. Sound like they are ready and let's hope it works out.

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  • Martha Skye MartinDecember 21, 2013 - 11:54 am

    The El Dorado Hills Town Center is in El Dorado County. We benefit from the tax dollars it generates.

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  • ObservationDecember 22, 2013 - 7:04 am

    @MSM Lots of folks from Bass Lake Road and points west frequent Folsom regularly. Those same people are unlikely to drive to Placerville and that is the point. Cameron Park seems like the transition line.

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  • really?December 21, 2013 - 7:52 am

    Bringing big business will certainly impact small business. I hope our so called county leaders realize that.

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  • rodDecember 21, 2013 - 8:59 am

    An indoor pistol range is badly needed. Teaching our children gun safety is imperative... just like swimming lessons. And exercising our 2nd amendment right is maybe the only way to keep it... especially in this gunphobic state. The only places to practice and train right now is the rod &gun club way out by the El Dorado land fill off Hwy 49 or up around Sly Park reservoir where its a helter skelter safety situation.

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  • BarbaraDecember 21, 2013 - 9:51 am

    for some reason I cannot view t he pictures. JimBo, would that ex-supervisor have the initials JS? While I applaud bringing more business to our area, let us not forget the impact this may have on our established small businesses. Also these jobs will be low paying "retail positions". Not many can survive on minimum wage.

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  • familia1December 21, 2013 - 7:41 pm

    BOOOOO!!! Makes me seriously think about moving from this beautiful town and land we love. How would developing land, and bringing in major box corporate chains benefit anyone other than the money mongering developers and planners. They say it's for tax revenue but sounds more like conflict of interests to me. It will put locally run mom and pop stores out of business....we all either moved here or live here to not live in an environment like the one that is being planned. Not what the PEOPLE of EL DORADO CO want! Plans like this need to be stopped before it's too late!

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  • Fran DuchampDecember 21, 2013 - 8:29 pm

    To the person who asked about the bowling would impact the Pollock Pines alley now....because of the economy. The family lost income when the snow took the roof...although there is insurance to "fix" physical was closed down for awhile--and when that happens to a business--people go to other places. It is a really great family that owns it. It takes 20 mins to come up to it from Placerville.

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  • ObservationDecember 22, 2013 - 7:13 am

    You are assuming that everyone comes from Placerville. Georgetown, Cool, Lotus, Shingle Springs residents may be interested in a more centrally located facility on the outskirts of Placerville. Anyway, it sounds more like a trial balloon than a firm commitment.

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  • Phil VeerkampDecember 22, 2013 - 7:37 am

    Can you imagine all those HWY 50 trips to Folsom and Sac being shifted to Missouri Flat Rd? LOS F. Keep all that traffic on HWY 50. SAVE MISSOURI FLAT RD. No shopping up here!!! Shop in Folsom and Sac.

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  • Fran DuchampDecember 22, 2013 - 8:19 am

    Martha--personally I dont care what people do...I know right now times are hard. I know that it would make it harder for this family...many people come up from Placerville to play. Since I dont own a bowling alley...i can only observe. We went two years without the chili cook off because of the alley s roof down--little things "hurt" what little economy we have up here. Malls...well you wont need trails--most city folk just walk the malls in their part of the world. Seems this one isnt inside--so they can get their fresh air as well. Seems odd to me to fight for a rural life...because I loved LA. However I respect a "rural" choice--and some of you are throwing that option for people away. I know all stores being mentioned...because I was a city dweller--driving down the hill--means nothing to me. Getting rid of the rural life just feels wrong. People supporting "walkable" is in human nature to get bored....they will still need that "one" more store. It has already been done...places will become abandoned....then there will still be no tax base.

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  • D.ColeDecember 22, 2013 - 9:20 am

    Who needs it? I find everything I need in Placerville and El Dorado county now. Do we love shopping so much, or just so consumned by it that we will let these developers change the landscape and character of this area forever? It will increase the tax base and stop millions from going down the hill, Ha! The Board of Sups. have been saying that for decades, and we still have a broken infrastructure in Placerville.....the county seat! I'm tired of getting set on! by this false since of progress and future well being if we only give these sweet deals to developers.Our future is in keeping this area rich in its agriculrural and rural roots, and not in bringing in every retail giant. Mr. Grado has to much influence in this town and county, I doubt who's interests he truly holds.

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 21, 2014 - 9:49 am

    Just a reminder to do your share of "saving" water during this time of need :) One of my favorite shares this week--is to use creek water to water what plantsts you may have left in your garden.

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