A Carmichael couple hopes to bring an economic miracle of sorts to town.
Investors Allan and Nancy Davis started a company called Milagro Investments and have purchased the mostly vacant Hillside Shopping Center on Fair Oaks Boulevard, southwest of the intersection with Marconi Avenue.
"It's got a central location in town so what better place to start redeveloping Carmichael," Allan Davis said.
They intend to redevelop it into a tree-lined gathering place with local and national dining and retail options. The Milagro project, which is set to begin renovation work in June and open this fall, is going forward at the same time as the , for which construction has begun at the Fair Oaks/Marconi/Palm intersection.
"Everyone needs a place to go hang out, grab a glass of wine," said Chris Meyer, the Carmichael Chamber of Commerce president. "This will be a great retail starting point for what Carmichael can become."
The four-acre complex rents about 42,400 square feet and was built in the 1970's, the Davises say. Three out of 10 businesses remain open- , and catering.
"We had been eating at Waffle Barn and would say 'when is somebody going to do something with that place?'," Nancy Davis said. "People would say it was too far back from the road."
The Davises bought the property for $1.8 million and say the current tenants can stay if their owners wish to do so. The Davises say plans call for an emphasis on a central courtyard and pushing the center out closer to Fair Oaks Boulevard.
The Davises are going through the approval process with Sacramento County and seeking tenants before starting demolishing work inside the buildings. Allan Davis said he hopes to attract a small grocer/retailer similar to a Fresh & Easy or Trader Joe's.
They said they're also looking to bring in restaurants and specialty retails including a bakery and florist. The design of the projects is from architects Michael Martin and Kenton Russell.
Nancy Davis said she has lived in Carmichael for 46 years and that the Hillside was a viable shopping center 20 to 25 years ago.
"Carmichael just wasn't seeing its potential," she said. "There are many auto-related businesses and thrift shops but not enough options to eat or shop; we deserve better."
Nancy Davis added that she hopes the remodeled center inspires other small-business owners to invest in a new-look Carmichael.
The Davises decided on the Milagro Centre name ('milagro' means miracle in Spanish) because Allan beat throat cancer eight years ago and Nancy overcame an unspecified illness, both of which they said were miracles.
"I saw a bottle of tequila and I bought it for him and said when you feel better, we'll toast but now we want to crack it against the wall when we open the center," Nancy Davis said.
The center won't only bring more dining and shopping options for Carmichael residents but also create much-needed jobs, they said.
"This will be a small miracle in Carmichael," Allan Davis said.