Thursday, November 08, 2007

Tasty Developments

Tasty Developments
Nut Tree Site's Offerings Continue To Blossom
By Cathy Bussewitz/Business Writer

Visitors to the new Nut Tree in Vacaville enjoy a fall day of shopping Wednesday. The site continues to attract new businesses. (Rick Roach/The Reporter)

Whether it's lunch time or dinner time, the Nut Tree's restaurant roster is expanding to satiate Vacaville's appetite. The latest addition coming to the Nut Tree's restaurant lineup is the jungle safari-themed Elephant Bar, which recently signed a lease to open a local branch of the popular restaurant in the summer of 2008.

Sean Whiskeman, who manages leasing and marketing for Westrust, the development company responsible for the retail portion of Nut Tree, is delighted that the restaurant signed on.

"It was a coup for us to bring them in," Whiskeman said. "They have a variety of dining options, and there's always a little something there for everybody."

Another tasty venue to open soon is Spice, a Thai restaurant under the same ownership as Orinda-based Siam Orchid.

"The restaurant has a great following, and they're trying to get that going here," Whiskeman said.

Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill fans also saw the opening of that restaurant in the plaza this week.

Other recent additions include Jamba Juice, See's Candy, and L&L Hawaiian Barbecue.

On tap for the future is "Tossed," a salad and soup restaurant that will open near the new Jamba Juice store.

The most recent retail additions include Dream Photography, Sports Clips, and Barbeques Galore, a store dedicated to the backyard tradition.

The Nut Tree is also planning to submit an application to develop on a new strip of land near a new small vineyard planted across East Monta Vista Avenue from the Nut Tree site. That development, according to Rick Capretta, co-managing partner of Westrust, will include 80,000 square feet of additional retail, restaurants and office space.

The Nut Tree Pavillion Marketplace, an indoor pavillion designed to resemble a barn and host specialty food stores, opened on August 11.

The only bump in the road of development at the site came in September when Snell & Co., the firm behind the retail, office and residential development of the 80-acre landmark, backed out of a planned hotel and conference center for the site. The city has vowed to find another developer for that project.

In the meantime, those stores that are already up and operating are seeing brisk business, say local business leaders. The anchor big box retailers including Borders, Old Navy, Best Buy, and Sports Chalet continue to attract shoppers.

At build out, the development will feature approximately 330,000 square feet of office, restaurant and retail space - all of which is expected to generate more than 1,000 jobs, as well as substantial sales and property tax revenues.

Cathy Bussewitz can be reached at

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