Panda Express has signed a lease for about a third of the space that was formerly Blockbuster Video at Diablo Plaza in downtown Novato.
The company will lease 2,260 square feet that includes the round tower space that fronts Diablo Avenue, according to broker Jennifer Hibbits with Terranomics, the retail division of Cassidy Turley commercial real estate.
Hibbits said Panda Express will have its construction team work through the standard city approval and permitting processes, and she estimates it will open within the next five or six months.
The Panda Express Chinese food franchise started in 1983 and has more than 1,500 locations nationwide, according to the company website. This is the company’s second location in Marin; the other is in the Northgate mall in San Rafael.
Blockbuster announced the closure of its 6,000-square-foot video rental store in December 2011.
The remaining 3,700 square feet of the original Blockbuster site is vacant along with two other interior plaza spaces, according to Hibbits.
"We are actively marketing it and have some interest, but no signed deals yet," Hibbits said.