Construction in college town

South campus neighborhood gets fancy apartments, terrain park; plus, two new faces on the mobile food/drink scene.

There’s a lot of action going on over in the south campus neighborhood lately, in particular down the Walnut Street corridor and stretching over to Cedar Street. I’ve written in recent weeks and months about the opening of a few new restaurants in that area, as well as a shake bar. Well, there’s more going on worth mentioning.

First, there’s a sizable housing project going in at Fifth and Walnut. Dubbed The Urban Apartments, this bad boy is springing up fast. Designed similarly to Campus Walk just up the road at 330 Nord Ave. (both built by Modern Building Co.), it will feature fully furnished accommodations (36 of them), available to rent by the room. A two-bedroom is going for anywhere from $1,600 to over $2,000. Granted, they look awfully nice. But wow.

Another project happening in college town is just a block over, at Fifth and Cedar streets, in the old Cafe Culture building. Cafe Culture closed in 2011, and I’ve long wondered if that place would find a new tenant and at long last it has. I stopped by and chatted with the new building owners, Paul Hendricks and Mitch Robison, who were busy sprucing the place up.

Turns out, the pair are from Red Bluff and they both recently graduated from Long Beach State—Hendricks studied marketing and Robison, economics. They also share a love of rock climbing. So, they hatched an idea to open a rock climbing gym and Chico just happened to fit the bill for location. Terrain Park Climbing Center will feature climbing walls and an indoor slackline, along with a workout room, showers and a study.

The idea, Hendricks said, is to cater to true rock climbers, so they’ll offer memberships. But, the center also will be open to groups for parties and work team building exercises. It turns out that with the climbing wall at the Wildcat Recreation Center, there are a ton of local Chico State grads who are itching for a place to practice their sport. Work is coming along and the two hope to be up and running in January. Check out Terrain Park Climbing Center on Facebook for updates.

More new faces Beyond the south campus neighborhood, there are a few other new faces popping up around town. The first to catch my eye is The Brisket Pit, which has a decent website ( complete with menus and ordering information. Run by “pitmaster” Paul Schooler, this mobile eatery promises “the best in central Texas BBQ.” Obviously, he serves brisket, plus pulled pork and a wide variety of sides. Check the website and find The Brisket Pit on Facebook.

And, finally, another newbie: Shift Bicycle Cafe. Run by John and Brisa Hanna-Barton, this mobile coffee cart is a thing of beauty. Plus, the couple are serving up quality, organic coffees and teas (including Chico Chai) all over town. Check Facebook for location updates.