By Lance Armstrong

Citizen Staff Writer

Construction on the first six buildings of The Ridge Shopping Center is nearing completion.

This project is located near the new Costco Wholesale store on property owned by Pappas Investments at the southeast corner of Elk Grove Boulevard and Bruceville Road.

Kelly Rule, senior vice president of leasing for Pappas Investments, told the Citizen this week that Olive Garden, Pieology Pizzeria, Sourdough & Co. and Stanton Optical have signed leases to operate in the center. She added that other businesses are in negotiations to occupy spaces at this site.

The current shopping center structures, which range in size from 4,600 square feet to 7,735 square feet, are being constructed by Ascent Builders. They represent the first and second phases of the 15-building project, which began in April last year.

All of the current buildings are being constructed as “shell buildings” or structures that are completed on their exteriors, but not their interiors.

Greg Uding, the project’s superintendent, said construction experienced a slight delay due to last winter’s rains.

“There were delays for weather, but we’re (on schedule) for now,” he said. “We were going to open at the end of July. Now it’s the beginning of September.”

Uding added that the project has also been affected by the construction industry’s shortage of workers.

“That’s just construction,” he said. “It’s terrible. It’s not getting any better. (With more workers,) things would be a lot easier for everybody.”

Ascent Builders’ current schedule is to finish the shells of the project’s first six buildings by the second week of September. The first of the structures, Uding noted, will be completed “in a week or so.” The company plans to finish a building per week.

Ascent Builders still needs to have its structures pass fire, painting and city building department inspections.

Once the structures are approved, tenants can begin adding their own improvements in the buildings.

Uding said that if plans move forward as scheduled, the center’s construction fences would be removed on Aug. 30, and the first tenant – Stanton Optical – would open in the center on Sept. 2.

He added that Olive Garden already has a construction trailer on site.

The majority of the center’s landscaping was complete as of last week.

No start date has been set for the third phase of The Ridge project, Uding noted.