If we build it, they will come.
That’s what brothers Cyrus and Darius Mojibi thought when they purchased the 23-acre plot of land on the southwest corner of Calloway and Olive drives from Karpe Realty in 2008. Cyrus, 36, said the market was still shaky then, and they realized it wasn’t going to improve overnight.
“We knew we’d sit on it a while,” he said. “It’s actually taken a little longer than we thought it would.”
After years of speculation, Cyrus, chief operating officer for San Joaquin Refining, said the project began to take shape. About 18 months ago, they broke ground and, today, the Riverlakes Galleria is a bustling retail center. It’s 90 percent leased with high-profile tenants such as Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market, In-Shape Fitness, Les Schwab Tires and The Habit Burger Grill all open and doing business.
Offering a variety of sandwiches, salads and desserts, the northwest newbie is gaining popularity. Habit Burger Grill shift manager Jasmine Favela says they’ve been well received at the location.
“We opened June 22, and we’ve been busy ever since,” she said.
On the other side of the counter with receipt in hand, repeat customer Terry Mills says he thinks he knows why the tables are full.
“They aren’t like the run-of-the mill hamburger place. It’s good enough that I brought my wife back with me,” he said motioning to his spouse, Diana.
Cyrus and Darius operate as DCM Assets Management LLC. The brothers are Bakersfield natives, both graduating from Highland High School and attending Pepperdine University. A San Joaquin Refinery employee also, Darius, 40, said they were eager to hire local folks for the project, and many of the tenants are Bakersfieldians.
“We were pretty adamant about using local contractors,” he said. “Klassen broke the dirt, and S.C. Anderson did the buildings. Sully’s (Chevron) is local; Fit Pantry and Sugar Twist, too.”
Cyrus says Starbucks, PetSmart and Pieology Pizzeria are slated to open at the center in the upcoming months, and there’s a frozen yogurt shop also in the works. Some of the other storefronts remain a mystery but are certain to fill in fast. Darius said they have an interest in several other local properties, but this venture meant turning a dirt field into a long-held dream.
“Riverlakes is the first one we’ve developed from the ground up,” Darius said.