BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse, a fast-growing chain of casual restaurants, has inked an agreement to open in Coddingtown Mall next year.
The opening of the new eatery on the north side of Coddingtown Mall will create about 200 construction jobs and another 220 positions when the restaurant opens, according to a news release issued by Simon Property Group, which owns the mall with Codding Enterprises.
"BJ's has been on the city's radar screen for a number of years, and we're happy that they've finally landed in Santa Rosa, because we've long needed some more family-friendly dining options," said Nancy Manchester, economic development program specialist for Santa Rosa.
When it opens, BJ's could be the largest restaurant in Santa Rosa, Manchester said. The new eatery, which will cover approximately 9,500 square feet, will have the capacity to serve about 280 guests.
"I think it will jump start the Coddingtown revitalization," Manchester said.
The location at Coddingtown was chosen in part because the mall has good freeway access and the backing of a national developer, said Mike Costa of Terranomics Retail Services, which represented BJ's in the deal.
"We think it's an area that they'll do well in," Costa said. "There's a lot of growth in the area, and the Whole Foods is a big plus."
BJ's Restaurants, Inc., a publicly-held company whose stock trades on the Nasdaq exchange, operates 107 casual dining restaurants nationwide. The Huntington Beach company more than doubled its revenues over the last four years, from $238.9 million in 2006 to $513.9 million last year.
Known for its deep-dish pizza, the dining spots feature more than 100 menu items, with most entrees priced from $8.95 to $19.95, and beers from micro-breweries operated by BJ's and contract brewers.
The north side of the mall is being renovated to make room for the new restaurant, which will occupy space currently used for storage by Old Navy, said Lois Codding, vice president of leasing for Codding Enterprises.
It will not utilize any space created by the eviction of longtime tenant Narsi's Hof Brau, Codding said. The mall evicted the cafeteria-style restaurant in 2010 after a two-year legal battle to make room for a national restaurant chain that would draw more customers to the shopping center. Narsi's, a mainstay at Coddingtown for nearly three decades, generated $1.1 million in sales, according to court documents. BJ's restaurants generate $4.5 million to $5.5 million in annual sales, on average.
Coddingtown is in talks with other potential tenants for the former Narsi's space, Codding said.
Editor's Note: Due to an editor's error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly described the location of the new BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse at Coddingtown Mall.