Sacramento “Mermaid Bar” that Benefited From $5 Million in Taxpayer-Funded Redevelopment is Now for Sale

An entertainment complex that houses a pizzeria, a nightclub and Dive Bar, “where costumed men and women swim in the giant fish tank above the bar,” is on the market. Sacramento’s redevelopment agency spent $5.4 million to renovate and refurbish the part of the complex that houses Pizza Rock, Dive Bar and the nightclub District 30. Private enterprise chipped in $6.4 million. In other words, taxpayers were stiffed with almost half the total bill.

Not only did these bars benefit from taxpayers, the building itself was partially subsidized. According to the Sacramento Business Journal,

“The actual 10th and K streets corner building was built inside of a 1956 poured-in-place concrete Woolworth’s building. Remodeling the shuttered dime store into an entertainment venue cost $15 million, $5.75 million of which the city subsidized. That part of the project opened in the fall of 2008.”

Current owners CIM Group of Los Angeles and Sacramento developer David Taylor haven’t listed a price yet, but are “testing the market.” If sold, they’ll use the money to fund other projects downtown.

The Dive Bar was previously featured in an Institute for Justice video (around the 8:20 mark) on California’s notorious redevelopment agencies. Fortunately, thanks to a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown and a state Supreme Court ruling last year, these agencies have now been abolished. Many of these agencies regularly abused their powers of eminent domain. As Christina Walsh noted back in February, “The Institute for Justice catalogued more than 200 projects that abused eminent domain across the Golden State during the past 10 years alone.” Plus, violating property rights was pretty expensive for California taxpayers: redevelopment agencies ran up almost $30 billion in debt.

-- Nick Sibilla

Nick Sibilla is a writer at the Institute for Justice

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