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K Street Mall update

K Street Mall has seen some movement this month with restaurants reopening renovation continuing and a legal challenge dismissed. Big changes may still be in the works.

Two restaurants — Three Monkeys and the Crepe Cafe — have reopened in their old spots. Work continues on the renovation of St. Rose of Lima Park and relocation of the adjacent light rail station.

In addition, a judge dismissed a lawsuit contesting development of a mermaid bar and two other nightlife venues in the 1000 block of K Street. Following the suit’s dismissal, San Francisco nightclub operator George Karpaty said he expects his proposed businesses would help change the city’s nightlife landscape.

For some time, there has been talk of reviving K Street Mall and the downtown business district by introducing more nightlife. Karpaty said the businesses he plans to open in the 1000 block would help draw more people downtown at night, rather than suck customers away from existing bars or restaurants as the owners of those businesses have feared.

"We don’t look at it as competition. We look at it as co-opetition," he said Tuesday. "We believe it will be good for all the other restaurants and clubs."

Former Sacramento City Councilman Josh Pane filed a lawsuit last spring to try to stop development of Karpaty’s proposed projects in the space occupying 1016-1022 K St. next to The Cosmopolitan, which opened less than a year ago featuring Social nightclub. Another "ultra-lounge," known as Cabana, operates at 1200 K St. Longtime Sacramento restaurateur Randy Paragary is part owner of both nightclubs.

Pane, along with nearby restaurant[-] and club[-]owners and some residents criticized the city for giving $5.7 million in subsidies to the project developers, David S. Taylor Interests and CIM.

On Aug. 7, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly threw out Pane’s legal challenge. The judge chose not to review the merits of the case after Pane failed to "exhaust" administrative review by appearing before the City Council or at least filing a letter with that body, said Pane, who will not pursue the case.

The lawsuit hasn’t impacted the pace of the development, said Karpaty, who owns Inner Circle Entertainment.

The venues were initially said to be opening by year’s end. However, Karpaty didn’t want to put a timeline on construction Tuesday. His staff is still working on special permit applications to get the exterior design approved and to operate the nightclubs and an outdoor patio. The city had expected those applications by the end of July.

Karpaty is well-known for creating unique, high-end nightclubs in San Francisco. Ruby Skye won Club World’s "Best Club" award at last year’s Winter Music Conference held in South Beach, Miami. Slide, a former speakeasy turned boutique lounge, was just featured on the Entertainment Channel as one of the most extreme bars in the world — entered only by slipping down a slide, paying homage to its speakeasy days.

In Sacramento, Karpaty plans to operate three venues whose interiors he described as "over-the-top spectacular": Pizza Rock, a 5,600-square-foot gourmet pizza restaurant with an outdoor patio; Dive Bar, a 3,050-square-foot bar featuring a giant aquarium and human mermaids or mermen making surprise appearances; and a 4,300-square-foot, over-30 dance club whose name has been changed from Frisky Rhythm to District 30.

Karpaty and his staff have been working with the city to get approval on exteriors for three facades, which are all contained in one building. They’re fine-tuning ideas for such things as exterior colors, the rock facade to be used on Pizza Rock and preservation of a vintage billboard. The plan is to tie them to the area’s existing look.

"We definitely want to give them three unique exterior and interior looks, because all three concepts are different from the other," he said. "We’re looking to create some unique venues that don’t look like they overly stand out, but don’t look like they belong in the suburbs."

Covered with rustic brick, Dive Bar will look like it’s been there 40 years, he said. Pizza Rock will look the most similar to the current downtown style. And District 30 will be more contemporary urban.

Pizza Rock’s interior will be high-end industrial. World pizza-throwing champ Tony Gemignani is a partner at the restaurant. He’s appeared on "Oprah," "The Late Show with David Letterman" and other shows. The Castro Valley resident will train the staff to juggle dough, while bartenders will juggle bottles and glasses.

While Karpaty said he respects Sacramento’s established, high-end restaurants and clubs, he expects his businesses will "change the landscape of nightlife" in this city by offering something new.

"We’re going to bring big things to Sacramento," he said. "That I can promise you."


Editor’s Note: The Sacramento Press editorial team corrected errors in this story after it was published.

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