Staff Writer-Sacramento Business Journal
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A prominent Natomas property at one time planned for an office park is now being proposed as a retail center, according to a new application with the city of Sacramento.

The 12.4-acre parcel between Truxel Road and Gateway Park Boulevard, north of an existing retail center at the intersection of those two streets, was bought late last year by real estate investor Ethan Conrad of Ethan Conrad Properties.

According to the application, Sacramento-based Market Street Development LLC wants to change zoning for the property from a 255,000-square-foot office property to a 122,000-square-foot commercial development, including 30,000 square feet of restaurants.

“As there are no large single tracts of land left available for new centers in this immediate area, we have identified this site as a potential rezone,” according to a project narrative for what’s being called Natomas Fountains. “If viewed on an aerial, it makes sense that this last piece of land at Truxel and Gateway be zoned retail to complete the retail hub at this intersection.”

Other components of the application include a new entry and exit to the property from Truxel and two water features at the accesses from Truxel and Gateway Park. The narrative notes the application is considered highly preliminary and subject to change if necessary to receive city and community support.

Charles Smyth, listed as the proponent for the project, did not return a call seeking further comment on the project.

When he purchased the property last November from a bank for about $899,000, Conrad said he saw retail as a better use for the property than office.

Years earlier, developer Abe Alizadeh and his company Kobra Properties had envisioned an office park on the property, but the plan foundered in the economic downturn. Alizadeh was later sued over a delinquent loan of $5.9 million for the property.