Plans for a new Downtown retail center and restaurant and a new fitness center in the old K-Mart space on Cherokee Lane will be top items of discussion during the Lodi Planning Commission meeting set for Wednesday night.

A public hearing will be held to review a request by Andy and Jennifer Pappas for an alcohol license for Papapavlo’s Restaurant, and approve the plans for the overall project, which includes a retail center.

According to Senior Planner Craig Hoffman, the vacant property located at 217 N. School Street was once occupied by a church and a residence. The church was demolished in 1970 and the residence in 1984, leaving the property vacant for at least three decades.

“It’s a property that has been vacant for quite a long time and one of the goals for the City of Lodi has definitely been to expand Downtown, both onto Sacramento Street and ultimately onto Main Street,” Hoffman said, adding that there has also been a push to revitalize the north end of School Street.

Hoffman explained that the Papapavlo’s project would fill in vacant property and pull Downtown traffic north on School Street down towards Lockeford Street.

“It’s a big deal for the city, and I know Andy and Jennifer Pappas. They’ve been wanting to be Downtown for probably about two and a half years,” Hoffman said. “It’s a big project for the Downtown.”

The project will consist of two phases, with the first being the construction of a 4,200-square-foot retail center, and the second a 5,500-square-foot Papapavlo’s restaurant.

Hoffman said that work is expected to begin as soon as the project is approved.

Another public hearing will be held to consider approval of Planet Fitness coming to site of the former K-Mart on Cherokee Lane. According to Hoffman, the former K-Mart space will be divided into four separate spaces and Planet Fitness is the first to request a use permit at the site. Planet Fitness will utilize 23,000 square feet of the 82,000-square-foot space. A 24,000-square-foot Grocery Outlet is also planned for the space.

“This is their attempt to re-tenant the K-Mart and also bring more foot traffic to that retail center, and I think that they’ll do that,” Hoffman said. “With the fitness club there is a great opportunity maybe for somebody to go use the fitness club and then go to other restaurants or retail spaces within that center.”

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