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New tenant sought for abandoned Studio Movie Grill site in Citrus Heights

The site of what was to be a Studio Movie Grill at 8501 Auburn Blvd. has been left unfinished following the theater pulling out of plans for the site.

By Mike Hazlip—
A portion of the former Kmart building on Auburn Boulevard near Interstate 80 remains unfinished as Studio Movie Grill emerges from bankruptcy.

Related: Studio Movie Grill confirms plans for Citrus Heights location are cancelled

The Dallas-based theater chain that combines movie viewing with dine-in seating was hard hit by pandemic shutdown orders more than a year ago, according to a report by industry trade journal Restaurant Business. The company had planned to open a new location in Citrus Heights and was in the process of remodeling the former Kmart building when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year.

Restaurant Business also reported the company is emerging from the restructure with 17 locations and a new CEO.

In a statement emailed to The Sentinel on Saturday, the city’s economic development and communications manager, Meghan Huber, said a new tenant for the site has not yet been found.

“City officials and staff alike were disappointed to see Studio Movie Grill pull out of its plans for a Citrus Heights location,” Huber said. “However, the site has a very strong value proposition: proximity and visibility from the freeway, adjacent to upcoming improvements to Auburn Blvd. through our Complete Street plans including a traffic signal, and a high population trade area.”

A previous report by The Sentinel shows Citrus Heights recently was awarded an $11 million grant from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG). The grant is largely earmarked to fund Phase 2 of the Auburn Boulevard Complete Streets Project. The project aims to revitalize Auburn Boulevard from Antelope Road to the Roseville border, the same stretch of roadway where Studio Movie Grill planned to open.

Related: Citrus Heights awarded $11.1 million in grants to fund roadway projects

Huber said the city is working with the property owner to attract a new tenant for the site, seeking to recruit businesses “aligned with the community’s needs and the allowed zoning uses, which includes retail, entertainment, and hospitality.”

The Santa Ana-based real estate company Red Mountain Group, which has leasing information for the former movie grill property posted on its website, appears not to have updated its listing after Studio Movie Grill pulled out of its plans for the 8501 Auburn Boulevard location. The listing still shows the theater along with Big Lots in a leasing brochure for the site.

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