There is a very small, local story for the blog, but it sure caught my attention as an example of the current state of commercial real estate, especially restaurant space in the Valley. There have been a number of restaurants close in Stockton during the recession, so there are prime vacant spaces around town.
The most prime restaurant location in town is probably the former Mallard's/Maxim's on the corner of March Lane and Brookside Road. Yes, the last two operator's have not been strong, but this is a newer restaurant building in a visible, waterfront location in the heart of the City's highest income neighborhood. When it went up for sale, I thought this surely was an opportunity for a good restaurant operator to come into a prime location at a favorable price.
So, I was stunned to see in this morning's Record that it was sold to a Congregational Church with 300 members with an attendance of about 60 on any given Sunday. I bet their membership will grow in the new location, but I was still surprised to see that a church could outbid a restaurant for this building. Apparantly, many restaurants looked at the space, but were unable to get financing for a purchase (no surprise given the current credit and economic environment).
I grew up in a quaint historic town that actually had a church on all 4 corners of it's most prominent intersection, so I personally kind of like a church on the corner. Congratulations to the First Congregational Church on their exciting new location.
I expect a lot of interesting repurposing of commercial space over the next decade in the Valley.