EAST PALO ALTO SHOPPING GOING GANGBUSTERS ... While much of the rest of the country is going through an economic downturn, East Palo Alto's shopping district, Ravenswood 101 Retail Center, is about to go full throttle. It now looks like two retailers, Nordstrom Rack and Sports Authority, will occupy the 90,000-square-foot building, which has been vacant for more than three years when EXPO Design Center closed. Nordstrom Rack is the department store's off-price division, which first opened in the basement of Nordstrom's downtown Seattle store in 1975 as a clearance department. Sports Authority's move into East Palo Alto will mark its 68th store in California. It is also about five miles away from its Mountain View store in the San Antonio Shopping Center. Also poised to start business in Ravenswood 101 is the Firehouse Grill. Already open three years in downtown Sunnyvale, the Firehouse Grill in East Palo Alto is expected to open in October, according to Richard Tanner, construction manager for the restaurant. The 4,000-square-foot eatery will seat 120 people in the plasma-TV-studded interior. "We'll have 16 flat-panel televisions on the walls, both 50-inch and 62-inch," Tanner said. He also noted the parking availability. "It's one of the few restaurants around here that you can go to on a Friday or Saturday night and park in front of it. We've got a hundred spaces in this lot." Firehouse Grill is located next to Jamba Juice, which opened in mid-May.
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