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Former Citrus Heights Benihana demolished amid renovation of 15-acre center

A building formerly home to Benihana in Citrus Heights was demolished this month in preparation for a major remodel at the center. // M. Hazlip

By Mike Hazlip—
Demolition has begun at the Sunrise Village shopping center at Sunrise Boulevard and Madison Avenue in preparation for major renovation at the aging 15-acre plaza.

The northern section of the center where Benihana once operated has been torn down. Jeff Snyder of J. A. Snyder Pacific West Inc. said Saturday that it took his crews about a week to demolish the first of several sections scheduled to be torn down.

Snyder said the remaining areas are smaller and he expects the work will move along quickly. The company also plans to tear down the building that was home to Coco’s restaurant.

Several trees were also removed in the parking lot area where Sunrise Marketplace hosted drive-in movie nights last summer. Many businesses remain open in the center during the renovation, while others relocated ahead of the planned demolition including the long-standing Chinese restaurant, Silver Dragon.

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A representative with property owner Merlone Geier could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but information available from the company’s website lists Sunrise Village under “Current Development Projects.”

“Currently in the stages of redevelopment, improvements include updated building architecture, improved ingress and egress, updated monument and building signage, bold new entry features, additional pedestrian amenities, and exciting outdoor seating and gathering spaces,” the project’s description says.

Future tenants listed on Merlone Geier’s website include a 36,152-square-foot City Sports Club and a 38,000-square-foot “grocer,” although a specific name is not listed. Jo-Ann Fabrics will also reopen with an expanded 27,150-square-foot location in the center.

From last year: More businesses closing amid plans for major shopping center remodel

As reported by The Sentinel last year, the Citrus Heights Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the project in January 2020. The property was purchased by San Francisco-based Merlone Geier in 2017.

The project includes adding 18,000 square feet to the existing 150,000+ square foot shopping plaza, located on the northwest corner of Sunrise Boulevard and Madison Avenue. It also includes construction of a new 5,500-square-foot building with a drive-thru, where Coco’s restaurant once operated.

Large archway signage branding the center as “Sunrise Village” will also appear across two of the center’s driveways, according to a Planning Division staff report. The facades of existing buildings will all receive “significant exterior enhancements” that include canopies above walkways, the creation of outdoor patio spaces and modifications to the existing roofline.

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