Arena Construction Woes: River City Brewing Plans to Relocate

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SACRAMENTO -

After 21 years at the Downtown Plaza, River City Brewing Company is giving up and is ready to move their business somewhere else.

General Manager Beth Ayres-Biro says she's seen a 35% drop in business since the new arena construction started next door about three months ago.

"Our hopes is that we'd see no drop because we were going to get the construction workers," said Ayres-Biro.

She says that didn’t happen.  And making matters worse, she says her questions about her future on the site are going unanswered.

She told us, the company that manages the mall, JMA ventures LLC, notified tenants that it may close the west side of the mall to redevelop it. Beth doesn't know if that plan will include her restaurant.

"We've kind of taken no word, as...no"

Valerie Mamone-Werder, the Senior Manager at The Downtown Sacramento Partnership says she recently spoke to many of the businesses in the area. Many are frustrated that people don't know they are open.

"The businesses really want the messaging to be that they're open for business. A lot of people have been there 20 years and they want people to come down and see what they're doing as exciting," said Mamone-Werder, sr manager, Downtown Sacramento partnership.

Beth feels betrayed, fearing that mall management will choose bigger companies over her local business. The restaurant's lease is up at the end of December, and she hopes to be in a new location by April of 2015.

"I'm totally for the arena. I think it is going to be great. But they kind of approached it as 'we're going to keep everything local," said Ayres-Biro.

Todd Chapman, the president and CEO of JMA Ventures, LLC, the operator of Sacramento Downtown Plaza, released the following statement to FOX40:

"We acknowledge that the beginning stages of the transformation of Sacramento Downtown Plaza have presented some uncertain times for tenants, and we appreciate their patience and flexibility.  During the redevelopment process, which will bring a new Entertainment and Sports Center (ESC), as well as a newly invigorated shopping experience to the heart of Sacramento, JMA has been in close communication with all tenants to inform them of the possibility of a west mall closure to allow ample time to find new space - if they so desire. Our team has communicated to these tenants that they are welcome to remain open as long as feasible during the center's redevelopment, and we have discussed with them the opportunities that may exist once merchandising plans have been solidified.  Macy's, the Theatre, and 24 Hour Fitness will continue to operate throughout the entirety of the construction and development process in their current locations."

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