Council also will discuss ways to make area more pedestrian
friendly and moving VTA stop
Viewers watching Wednesday’s City Council meeting from home on cable Channel 17 will want to settle in comfortably because the meeting is expected to be long.

The council will tackle the downtown plan update and downtown building allotments, consider doling out money – in loans and grants – to renovate the Granada Theater ($1,060,000 or less) and Gunter Brothers Feed Store ($363,000 or less), will review options for slowing traffic downtown and hear plans for two new medical office buildings. And those are just the high points.

Acting as Redevelopment Agency directors, the council asked for project ideas to kick start downtown business. A more dynamic downtown would attract outside visitors, bring in more sales taxes and improve the quality of life for all residents. Improvements, in grants and loans or waiving of fees, are to be paid for with all or part of the $3 million remaining in the downtown RDA fund.

Many project plans were received, four were sent on for further review and two are before the agency for final approval.

Mike Wilkinson, a young man with a successful track record of bringing back to life a movie theater and bowling alley in the town of Colusa, has asked the RDA for a large loan/small grant mix totaling $1,095,000 to refurbish and restructure the theater into three screens plus a café. The proposal includes a $700,000 loan at 3 percent payable in 15 years with interest payments starting three months after the theater opens; a $310,500 grant largely to preserve the building’s historic aspects and a $45,000 façade grant.

Wilkinson plans to run classic, foreign and other movie types not available south of downtown San Jose.

Ben Fuller and his partners, Scott and Craig van Keulen, would renovate the existing granary building into a two-story retail and office site. They seek $363,000 mostly for a short-term loan.

The other two projects are still under consideration but need more work. A mixed-use, retail/condominium project that Rocke Garcia wants to build between East Third and Fourth and Depot streets was sent back to the drawing board to align itself more closely with the downtown plan.

A proposal by Brad Jones and Cinda Meister, owners of BookSmart, Thinker Toys and two other downtown businesses was also sent back for more information.

Traffic calming will center around getting traffic to stop for pedestrians trying to cross Monterey Road and the possibility of moving the VTA bus route from Monterey to Depot, passing the train station. The city recently received a $2.65 million grant to improve the look and business opportunities on Depot. Council could also decide to reduce Monterey to one lane each way between Dunne and Main avenues.

Council will consider a zoning change for a medical/dental office building on Monterey Road, across from the post office; the planning commission split its vote. The commission recommended approving zoning change for a second medical building, at the northwest corner of Tennant Avenue and Caputo Drive.

City Council/RDA meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday in City Hall Chambers, 17555 Peak Ave. Details: or 779-7271. Meetings are broadcast live on cable Channel 17.

Carol Holzgrafe covers City Hall for The Times. She can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] or phoning (408) 779-4106 Ext. 201.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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