Updated Dec. 18, 6:14 p.m.–
Citrus Heights residents will soon be able to dine at a new Applebee’s restaurant on Auburn Boulevard, located on one of the long-empty pads in front of Costco and Walmart.
Although originally planning for a November opening date, and then Dec. 21, Apple NorCal Director of Operations Cas Banaszek told The Sentinel via email that the new Citrus Heights Applebee’s is planning to open on Dec. 23.
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Apple NorCal, a franchise operating several dozen Applebee’s restaurants in Northern California, selected Citrus Heights for a new restaurant due to the city’s “excellent demographics,” according to a company executive in February.
The 5,400-square-feet restaurant will take up one of 10 new commercial pads in the zone along Auburn Boulevard referred to in City plans as the “Auburn Commerce District” or Stock Ranch Plaza. According to Citrus Heights Planning Commission documents, the remaining area in front of Costco and Walmart is designated for eight retail spots and two restaurants — one of which is Applebee’s.
As of Oct. 28, City Senior Planner Casey Kempenaar said no other businesses are confirmed to be locating in the Plaza’s remaining commercial pads — although there has been interest from several “nationally known” restaurant chains and a bank, according to a planning commission report earlier this year.
New construction in the commercial-zoned district is governed by the Stock Ranch Guide for Development, passed by the city council in 2001 and most recently updated in 2015. Development of the area began with Costco in 2003 and Walmart in 2005, followed by city council approval in 2008 for a 14,000 square feet Fresh & Easy store — but those plans fell through when Fresh & Easy’s parent company “announced withdrawal of its development plans in the United States,” according to the City.
Further development in the Stock Ranch Plaza remained dormant until April 2015, when the City gave approval for Applebee’s to begin construction.
Applebee’s “neighborhood bar & grill” markets itself as a casual-dining, family-friendly restaurant, and has grown to almost 2,000 locations since launching nearly 30 years ago.