As the holidays quickly approach, Downtown Turlock is preparing for the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season at a time when the heart of the city is thriving. Small businesses along the brick-paved sidewalk of Main Street have flourished, and annual holiday events keep shoppers and sight-seers coming back for more. While the friendly, small town atmosphere of Downtown Turlock remains constant, the area’s inner workings and outer appearance are shifting.
After losing Executive Director Gina Loretelli in July, the Downtown Turlock Property Owners Association recently brought on Molly Amant, who is now serving as interim director. Amant is not the only change to the downtown scene, however, as multiple renovations are either taking place or are in the works.
The Enterprise Building, located on the south side of West Main Street between Lander and Broadway, is currently undergoing a complete renovation which will modernize the interior, restore the exterior to its original 1900s look and also develop the second story space. The overhaul of the building marks the third downtown building renovated by Brownstone Equities, owned by local businessman Matt Swanson.
The address at 128 S. Center St., formerly known as Al’s Billiards, will soon receive a facelift as well. The tired venue will be transformed into a bar complete with billiards, shuffle board and electronic dartboards, thanks to the recent purchase of the building by 39 Milestone, LLC. A revamped front entrance and proposed outdoor seating in both the back and the front of the building are planned, along with a stage fit for live entertainment and a dance floor inside of the bar. According to developer Daniel Leones, the project is expected to be completed in the spring.
In addition to renovations, Downtown Turlock is also home to some new faces such as Hauck’s Grill and Crust & Crumb, as well as the newly-expanded Udder Place. It’s a good time to be a business owner in Turlock, said DTPOA board member John Jaureguy.
“Restaurants, boutiques, salons and antique stores are all doing very well and Downtown Turlock is building a name for itself in these areas,” said Jaureguy. “This success is mostly due to the efforts of the individual business owners and staffs.”
As pedestrians and shoppers walk down Main Street, it’s rare for them to see an empty building. According to Jaureguy, the current estimated vacancy rate for downtown properties is at or near zero, and the few properties that are in fact vacant are awaiting renovations before they can house a new business.
“Vacancy has never been very high, as rent adjustments keep most spaces occupied,” said Jaureguy.
The extremely low vacancy rate has been the norm for a couple of years now, however, and has decreased significantly from 2009’s estimated vacancy rate of 10 percent.
The improved business climate in Turlock has in turn produced a higher value for the properties downtown, said Jaureguy. Currently, the estimated value per square foot for downtown buildings is between $80 and $200, while rent is estimated to range from $0.80 to $1.50 per month per square foot. As there have been very few sales of downtown properties in recent years, Jaureguy said that it is difficult to find past rates comparable to the current rates.
Downtown Turlock and its business-laden buildings will soon be host to holiday activities, including the Festival of Lights on Nov. 25 and the Downtown Christmas Parade on Dec. 2, which is put on by the City of Turlock but assisted by DTPOA.
DTPOA meets at 3:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every month at the downtown office, located at 300 D-1 E. Main St. All meetings are open to the public.