Closing Down Street Restaurants to Make Way For An Office Project

Chez TJ owner George Aviet in his Michelin starred restaurant on Jan. 7, 2014. Photo by Michelle Le On Tuesday night, the Mountain View City Council is set to discuss what to do with two historic Villa Street restaurants that are part of a new downtown office project. Representatives of the restaurants Chez TJ and the Tied House brewery announced last month they were planning to eventually close down to make way for a four-story office project. The office development by the Minkoff Group could provide space for the eateries to reopen, possibly as a merged gastropub. The Mountain View City Council has not yet sanctioned the office project, and the proposal already faces some hurdles. City staff note that both restaurants are located in historic buildings that are supposed to be protected and preserved. Elected leaders could allow the structures to be demolished. Or city staff suggests a better option might be to relocate the historic buildings to a new site. This would be complicated and costly, but the staff report notes that these problems would mostly be the responsibility of the developer. They say the buildings could be reused as affordable housing, classrooms or for other public uses. The Mountain View City Council will discuss the project in a study session scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Plaza Conference Room at 500 Castro St. An agenda of the meeting can be found here.

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On Tuesday night, the Mountain View City Council is set to discuss what to do with two historic Villa Street restaurants that are part of a new downtown office project.

While I would miss Chez TJ and Tied House, I find it quite ridiculous how these two property owners are effectively having to beg these bureaucrats for permission to redevelop property that they own. Moving buildings is expensive, but who cares, because it’s the responsibility of the developer? Come on! This kind of micromanagement is harmful long term. As a city, we benefit from office buildings, restaurants, shops, and businesses in general. They provide services we need and enjoy. If you make exiting a business or changing your building much more difficult, it gives future businesses less incentive to come here or stay here.

While I would miss Chez TJ and Tied House, I find it quite ridiculous how these two property owners are effectively having to beg these bureaucrats for permission to redevelop property that they own. Moving buildings is expensive, but who cares, because it’s the responsibility of the developer? Come on! This kind of micromanagement is harmful long term. As a city, we benefit from office buildings, restaurants, shops, and businesses in general. They provide services we need and enjoy. If you make exiting a business or changing your building much more difficult, it gives future businesses less incentive to come here or stay here.

The buildings are historic in part because of where they are, IMO. If the city leaders decide to redevelop the site, then saving the buildings is dumb. That old piece of junk that is Chez TJ’s is awesome as an old french house serving fancy meals in the middle of town, but it makes no sense to move it somewhere else far away where it will just be an old falling-apart house.

I too agree that the city should be involved. You don’t just tear down a 120+ year old building because the land is pricey and the owners want to get their money out. There is some level of responsibility if you own such a parcel. The suggestion of moving it suggests it has some historical value that would be lost in the 10 minutes it would take to knock it down. Tuesday: Council weighs moving or tearing down Chez TJ, Tied House buildings | News | Mountain View Online |

 

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