Biz Beat

Burgers, groceries, pizza to expand downtown options

A Smart and Final sign is now displayed in the anchor spot – which was vacated by Save Mart three years ago – at the old Lincoln School shopping center on H Street in downtown Modesto.
A Smart and Final sign is now displayed in the anchor spot – which was vacated by Save Mart three years ago – at the old Lincoln School shopping center on H Street in downtown Modesto. mbicek@modbee.com

More good news for our little area of downtown Modesto: As I reported last month, Smart and Final will be moving into the anchor spot in the Shops at Lincoln School on H Street.

Ryan Swehla, who represents the center for NAI Benchmark, confirmed that the warehouse store will relocate from Ninth Street to the spot vacated by Save Mart three years ago. He also told me – and the sign on the building confirms – the store will be one of the company’s “Extra” sites. That means it will have fresh produce, meat, dairy and deli, much like a regular grocery store.

That’s great news for people who live and work downtown, particularly older folks in nearby Ralston Tower and Tower Park apartment complexes, who once again will have groceries available within walking distance. The shopping center is located at 17th and H, a particularly busy area of downtown.

Swehla said there are more tenants in the works for the shopping center, as well. Bob’s Giant Burgers will open up shop, and Round Table Pizza is in negotiations to return. You may recall that Round Table occupied a space in the shopping center for several years.

“Things are moving in the right direction,” Swehla said of the Shops at Lincoln School. Getting an anchor tenant is, of course, key to attracting other retailers and businesses.

“We’re hoping to get a pharmacy and things like that in there,” he said.

Work at the Smart and Final and Bob’s sites is underway; Swehla said he anticipates an opening date in the first quarter of 2017.

There’s good news for the current tenants at the shopping center, as well (speaking of which, if you find yourself at Taqueria Lagos, try the spicy grilled chicken salad – it’s awesome): Artist’s renderings I saw show some significant improvements planned for the Shops at Lincoln School. New landscaping, paint and lighting all look to be in the plans.


Elsewhere around the Business Beat: As we head into November this week, we will be turning our attention to the holidays in a big way. In recent years, we at The Modesto Bee have run a feature at this time of year highlighting gifts available at local merchants.

In addition to being a service several readers have told me they like, it’s a great way for me, personally, to get holiday gift ideas. Many of our readers have provided wonderful ideas we have used, and I am hoping that will be the case again this year.

Featured items must be available at a local small business and cost $20 or less. If you have some ideas, send them to me or my colleague Pat Clark. She can be reached at pclark@modbee.com.

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