There are some indications that this lot at Alluvial and Willow avenues in Clovis may eventually house a Black Bear Diner. Photo by David Castellon
Written by David Castellon
Owners of vacant adjoining parcels at the northeast corner of Alluvial and Willow avenues aren’t saying, while a representative of the Redding-based family restaurant chain said to check back in a couple of months.
The reasons behind the speculation stem from the Clovis City Council’s decision in February to rezone the combined 7.85 acres from low-density residential use to medium- and high-density and commercial developments amid plans to build a 60-unit apartment complex on one parcel and a small commercial development on the other.
Site plans for the commercial portion include a gas station with a convenience store and car wash, along with two restaurants.
In May, the parcel was deeded to Willows Petroleum, Inc., in Concord, and later that month the parcels reportedly were sold to Norcal Cajun Foods II, also based in Concord.
Back in September 2014, Norcal Cajun penned a deal to be the sole franchiser of new Black Bear diner restaurants in Northern California to be built out by the end of 2017.
An official with Black Bear contacted this week declined to say if that deal had been extended.
In fact, the only thing Black Bear would verify is plans to open its first restaurant in Fresno at the former Marie Callender’s restaurant at Shaw and Marty avenues, though a spokeswoman declined to say when that may happen.
Neither Clovis nor Fresno have Black Bear Diners, with the closest ones being in Madera, Hanford, Visalia and Tulare.
Norcal Cajun also reportedly owns Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen franchises.
The fried chicken giant didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry of whether a franchise might come to the Clovis site, and officials at Norcal Cajun didn’t respond to numerous interview requests.
Also unclear was whether the company might develop the apartment complex or sell off that parcel to a residential developer.