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Got blight?

Cena di Mare demolished; city targets three other problem properties
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Roseville residents were pleased when workers from Double B Demolition recently demolished the steel frames of the unfinished Cena di Mare restaurant building on Eureka Boulevard.

“Thank goodness they finally tore down that eyesore on Eureka,” said resident Phyllis Newman. “I cringed every time I passed that building.”

The structure was among the holdings of Abe Alizadeh’s Kobra Properties, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008. Alizadeh was arrested Jan. 20 on grand theft charges. The state Board of Equalization reports that he owes $1.5 million in taxes.

But a few other abandoned and derelict commercial buildings remain, and the City of Roseville is working to eradicate them.

Some of the buildings currently being targeted are an unfinished gas station on Foothills Boulevard, retail space on Fairway Drive and a four-story office building on S Grant Street.

Paul Camilleri, code enforcement supervisor for Roseville, said the city targets four or five problem properties at a time. In October 2009, the city notified the property owners of these three sites along with Cena di Mare that they must repair or demolish their buildings.

“These are the top four that stood out and needed the most attention,” Camilleri said. “They are eyesores, they can cause safety issues and they might (attract) transients.”

Scaffolding, overgrown weeds, dead trees, piles of brush and a large unused parking lot surround the half-built gas station on Foothills Boulevard and Vineyard Road. Sonora Petroleum Incorporated owns the property.

The abandoned retail space on Fairway Drive looks similar, with a chain-link fence around the wood framing. Thomas Pacifica LLC owns this property.

Camilleri said both properties have submitted plans with the city to finish construction. The California Building Code allows 180 days after the permit is issued to complete construction, he said.

Extensions can be requested and approved with justifiable cause. Work is deemed abandoned when no substantial work has been done on the project for a period of six months or more.

“If they don’t follow through then we follow through,” Camilleri said.

The city may eventually decide to demolish an abandoned building, leaving the property owner to foot the bill.

In downtown Roseville, across the street from Civic Center, sits a less-noticeably abandoned 56,000-square-foot commercial building. The exterior looks finished. But in front of the facility on S Grant Street sits a large trash container, portable toilet, “hard hat area” sign and chain-link fence.

The project, developed by Kobra Properties/Vernon Street Associates LLC, was going to feature ground-level retail and office space above when it launched in 2005 for an estimated cost of $12 million.

The property is now in receivership, Camilleri said. This is a legal process when the title of a piece of property is temporarily taken from the owner and placed with a court-appointed officer known as the receiver.

This person takes responsibility for maintaining the property, which starts by borrowing money against the property to bring the site into compliance with local and state codes. The receiver works under the supervision and direction of California Superior Courts.

Two miles away, sits an unfinished apartment complex on the corner of Junction Boulevard and Barbara Way, across from a row of houses. After developer Cresleigh Homes Corporation halted the Adora condominium project indefinitely in June 2009, they sealed the buildings with white home wrap and put netting over the grounds to keep down dust and weeds.

Some residents feel unfinished buildings ruin their neighborhoods.

“The blight in my neighborhood is the unfinished townhouse complex,” said resident Teresa Bennett-Smith. “Not only do I hate the sight of the unfinished buildings, but I miss the empty field. There used to be an easy shortcut to walk to the fairgrounds and a great area of bike jumps for kids to enjoy.”

On a recent morning, a few construction workers are at the site. About a month ago, Cresleigh Homes re-launched the project, confirmed Todd Sellers, vice president of construction. The target completion for this development is early 2012.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com.

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Got blight? Send us a photo of the eyesores in your neighborhood and we’ll post them to this story at www.rosevillept.com.