SANTA ROSA -- Part of the new face being put on Coddingtown regional mall this summer is the third North Bay location for BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse.
The rapidly growing casual dining chain signed a long-term lease for a 9,300-square-foot restaurant in the northeast side of the mall, according to Terranomics Retail Services agent Todd Oliver, who represented Huntington Beach-based BJ's Restaurants Inc. in the lease deal.
BJ's has been looking to enter the Santa Rosa market for a few years, he said.
"There are not many places where you can put a full-service restaurant in Santa Rosa," Mr. Oliver said.
Simon Property Group declined to comment on the lease beyond saying it will be one of a number coming with the multimillion-dollar renovation started this past spring at the 841,000-square-foot shopping center.
The interior and exterior renovations are set to be complete by November. It includes redesigned north and east mall entrances -- facing Guerneville Road and Cleveland Avenue, respectively -- with more outdoor seating, a new children's play area, new restrooms just for families, expanded seating areas featuring couches instead of benches, softer overhead lighting, new flooring that will include hardwood as well as tile and a refreshing of the landmark Coddingtown sign.
The planned BJ's restaurant would be an "upgraded" version of one that went into Macerich's Northgate mall in San Rafael in November 2009 following an even more extensive revision to that regional mall. In 2006, BJ's opened a 7,800-square-foot, 265-seat restaurant across from Vacaville Commons shopping center in Solano County.
Today the company owns and operates 108 restaurants in California and a dozen other states under the names BJ's Restaurant & Brewery, BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse and BJ's Pizza & Grill.
BJ's planned for five new openings in the second quarter and was able to open three by the end of June, according to the company's earnings announcement July 21.
"Sales for our new restaurants continue to exceed our initial expectations, and we remain on track to achieve our stated goal to open as many as 12 to 13 new restaurants this year," said Jerry Deitchle, chairman and chief executive officer.
At the least, BJ's wants to open four more this quarter and four more by 2012.
BJ's reported sales from comparable locations increased 6.9 percent in the second quarter, compared with 5.3 percent growth for the second quarter of 2010. Revenue for the first half of this year was $297.8 million, an 18 percent increase from $252.2 million in the first half of 2010.
Net income grew 5.2 percent and 4.0 percent in those periods to $15.4 million and $10.7 million, respectively.
Stock analysis firm SmarTrend on July 26 ranked BJ's (Nasdaq: BJRI) first among the top five restaurant stocks in terms of investment upside, followed by Domino's Pizza, Starbucks, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Darden Restaurants.