A Sacramento, CA, car dealer is spending $1 million to create a 12-acre outdoor mall behind his dealership in a one-man effort to revive the neighborhood “and get people back to my business.”
Paul Blanco's Sacramento Fresh Air Mall will feature 350 merchants under red-and-white canopies selling fresh produce, pottery, Western wear and metal works. It will draw 500,000 visitors a year, estimates Blanco, owner of Capitol City Chevrolet.
“You get that many people coming to Florin Road, everybody benefits,” he tells the Sacramento Bee newspaper. “It could put us back on the map.”
The neighborhood has been subjected to high crime and closed businesses in recent years. Blanco and several city officials see efforts as a revitalization project.
But Bob Creedon, owner of next-door Senator Ford dealership, sees trouble ahead.
“The kind of people attracted by that kind of business will be homeless people and gangs,” Creedon tells the Bee. “I've got a vandalism problem as it is.”
Both dealers agree they've seen better days selling cars in the neighborhood, as they have lost business to competing auto malls elsewhere in the city.