Biz Beat

What’s going up over there? A look at new retail, renovation, construction in Modesto

A construction crew works on a new building going up in front of the Target on Sisk Road in Modesto, Calif. March 16, 2019.
A construction crew works on a new building going up in front of the Target on Sisk Road in Modesto, Calif. March 16, 2019.

Welcome to another edition of, “Hey, what’s that going up over there?”

Spring has almost sprung in the valley, and with that comes a flurry of construction and renovation work now that the rain has given us a break. Around Modesto that means lots of projects in various stages of construction. Among them are plans for a new Dairy Queen restaurant in a high-traffic spot at the corner of Briggsmore Avenue and Sisk Road, just off the Highway 99 exit.

The site at 2080 W. Briggsmore Ave. formerly housed a long-vacant auto shop, but it was torn down by the city last summer for safety concerns because homeless were squatting in the building. Since 2016, the location had plans filed to become a Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen. But in January new plans were submitted to the City of Modesto to construct a new 2,720 square-foot building for a Dairy Queen restaurant.

It would be the second Dairy Queen location in the city. A standalone Dairy Queen was built in 1988 at the corner of Oakdale Road and Floyd Avenue and has been operating there ever since. Construction has not begun, but the site has been cleared and is fenced off, waiting for work to begin at the site just off Evergreen Avenue.

MR Dairy 2
The site at the corner of Briggsmore and Orangeburg avenues is being developed into a new Dairy Queen restaurant. Marijke Rowland

Just a little north from that location on Sisk Road, work is underway on two sites in the Vintage Commons shopping center. The facade and interior of the suite next to SportClips, across from Target are being renovated to prepare for a new dental office. According to city records, an Aspen Dental Office will go into Suite M at 3900 Sisk Road.

Just south of that site on Sisk Road, next to the BevMo and also across from Target, the former Payless ShoeSource was demolished earlier this year. Work has already begun on a new, larger 4,176 square-foot building. Construction crews were working on the foundation this week. While the new tenant has not been confirmed, next door neighbors said it could become a new mattress store. So keep an eye on the site and I’ll update you when we know more.

MR Dentist
Renovation work is being done along Sisk Road in the Target center in preparation for a new dental office. Marijke Rowland

On the opposite side of town, along Oakdale Road, construction has already begun on a new medical office complex. The site, at the corner of Oakdale Road and Peppermint Drive, has long been an undeveloped lot. Over the years it was known for hosting a Christmas tree lot that featured an in-costume waving Santa Claus. But now the lot is being transformed into a medical and general office suite. The site will have at least two buildings, with room for one more, according to commercial real estate broker Dale DeBoer.

One building will be a new dental office, the other is being built on spec for sale or lease. DeBoer said the space will be available for medical practices or general office use. Construction should be done before the end of the year.

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The old Breaktime Billiards location will open March 23, 2019 as an Old Skool Iron gym on McHenry Avenue in Modesto, Calif. Marijke Rowland

And finally, the old Breaktime Billiards on lower McHenry Avenue — which closed last year — is about to find new life as Old Skool Iron Modesto. The new gym is the first branch for the popular Vacaville-based Old Skool Iron fitness center. The new locally owned site will be run by business partners Cameron Kitzmiller, Isaac Quevedo and Sonder Raymundo.

Kitzmiller served in the Air Force for three years, and has been involved in fitness since he was a teenager. He has run the gym Stanislaus Strength in Modesto for the past two years.

Olk Skool Iron is known for its power lifting program. The Modesto location will offer power lifting, military style boot camps and strongman training. The gym will offer memberships and classes, as well as personal training services.

Old Skool Iron Modesto will open Saturday, March 23, at 304 McHenry Ave. It will be open 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Friday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information check out the gym’s Instagram page at

Marijke Rowland writes about new business, restaurant and retail developments. She has been with The Modesto Bee since 1997 covering a variety of topics including arts and entertainment. Her Business Beat column runs midweek and Sundays. And it’s pronounced Mar-eye-ke.
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