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Rancho del Mar: Aptos business owners given 30 days to move

Posted by Yijy8kNUMO on September 5, 2017

APTOS >> A half-dozen businesses at the Rancho Del Mar shopping center have received notices they must move out by Sept. 30 so the owner, TRCcan remodel the aging complex.

The businesses are in the south end of complex encompassing the food court and cinema. They include:

• Le Chef and Baskin-Robbins, both owned by Keang and Dee Dee Lee for 12 years and 14 years, respectively.

• Showtime Pizza, owned by Jose Gonzalez for 12 years.

• Sofia’s Taqueria, owned by Robert Cordova for 12 years.

• Erik’s DeliCafe, here since 1977 and part of a chain started by Erik Johnson.

• Senior Benefits Insurance Services, owned by Ken Cook and Bill Weber, the last tenant in the shuttered cinema building.

The letters, sent by San Diego attorney Jill Raffee, remind tenants their lease has expired and the landlord is giving the required 30-day termination notice.

The six businesses combined employ about two dozen people.

TRC previewed its plans for a $10 million to $15 million remodel at a community meeting in February so business owners knew it was coming. They had hoped to move to empty spaces in the shopping center, but the letter did not offer that opportunity.

Attempts to reach Shannon Naraghi, TRC property manager, were unsuccessful.

Sofia’s has been an anchor in the food court for 36 years. Cordova, 41, started at Sofia’s as a dishwasher at age 18 and worked his way up to owning the business. He’s looking for another space — he’s in 1,600 square feet now — and he wants to stay in Aptos.

“My customers want me here,” he said.

He thought he would have more time.

“We’re paying $1.75 per square foot,” he said.

At 1,600 square feet, that’s $2,800 a month.

Cordova expects rates will more than double after the rebuild.

He told his four employees they can start looking for jobs.

“I don’t know long it will take to reopen,” he said. “It’s like I have to start all over again.”


Commercial space is tight in Aptos.

Reuben Helick of Cushman & Wakefield produced a list of seven properties, one in not-yet-built Aptos Village, one needing tenant improvements and two in the Rancho Del Mar shopping center.

The lease rate is $2,400 a month for 1,600 square feet at Aptos Village Square and $5,060 a month for 2,016 square feet at Aptos Center.

“It’s going to be difficult to relocate,” said Teresa Thomae of the Santa Cruz Small Business Development Center. “Rents are going to be higher. It’s such a sad situation. It’s a sign of our changing times in retail.”

For Lee, 59, it’s a double whammy. Both his businesses got the move-out letter.

He said he asked county Supervisor Zach Friend to help business owners get more time.

“My hope is that TRC will be flexible with their schedule to ensure that long-term local tenants receive the transitional support they need,” said Friend. “I respect the desire to get the remodel underway, but there are a lot of practical considerations when relocating or liquidating a business and 30 days is an unrealistic time frame for these businesses.”

Brett Pyne, who works at the ice cream shop, said he would go back to work at Safeway but he worries about other employees.

Thomae said her team will assist displaced workers.

At Showtime Pizza, owner Jose Gonzalez, who has spent 22 years at the restaurant, worked his way up to buy the business. He has six employees. He has a place to go but leaving Rancho Del Mar is not easy.

He plans to move to Aptos Village Square next door, taking over a space from Au Midi, 400 square feet bigger than the 1,100 square feet he’s in.

“We just got lucky,” said his friend, Jose Rivas.

“We’ve been here a long time,” said his daughter Andrea, 22, who helps her dad. “A lot of work, a lot of effort.”

Brian Johnson of Erik’s DeliCafe said “it’s almost too complicated” to move in 30 days, so the Aptos location will close.

He wants to return to Rancho Del Mar after the remodel.

“We are negotiating,” he said.

Ten to 12 employees are affected.

“We actively look to find them employment at another Erik’s in the area or with our franchises,” Johnson said, adding that if Erik’s reopens, employees can come back.

“I don’t have to move until May,” said Eric Rogers, owner of Feet Fleet Sports, which is in a separate part of the shopping center with Ocean Breeze Boutique, J.C. Nails, Comerica and Verizon.

Aptos Jewelers is having a going out of business sale but the closing date is not set yet, co-owner Bill Hoffman said.

Aptos spaces for lease

Aptos Center, 7486-7570 Soquel Drive: Former bakery, 2,016 square feet. $30.12 per square foot per year.

Aptos Village Square, 7960 Soquel Drive: 1,660 square feet. $18 per square foot per year.

7887 Soquel Drive: 1,100 square feet. Negotiable. Landlord will help with tenant improvements.

Aptos Village, 8037 Soquel Drive: 2,904 square feet. Not yet built. Negotiable.

415 Trout Gulch Road: Former dry cleaner/laundromat: 3,000 square feet. Negotiable.

Source: Reuben Helick, Cushman & Wakefield

Santa Cruz Sentinel,  September 2, 2017 4:47pm

Author: Jondi Gumz

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