In the coming weeks, interior construction is scheduled to begin on a wine bar inside the city's "train depot," a replica 1888 structure located in the middle of Centennial Plaza near the train station. But due to cost and space constraints, city officials say, the building will not be equipped with public restrooms as originally planned.
In an e-mail, the city's real property manager Dennis Drennan explained that there will now be only one restroom in the building, intended only for customers of Savvy Cellar wine bar, which signed a lease with the city in July for the 1,100-square-foot "ticket office" space in the building.
"While the building was initially 'rough-plumbed' for two restrooms, cost and space constraints reduced the number of restrooms to one," Drennan wrote. Also noted that "The nature of the ABC permit held by Savvy Cellar restricts (customers) to those 21 and older."
That means train riders and downtown visitors -- except for those over 21 willing to buy some wine or food during Savvy Cellar's normal business hours -- will have to look elsewhere for a bathroom.
Savvy Cellar had hoped to open its doors on Nov. 1, but delays ensued as the city faced some technical difficulties in ensuring that the building had adequate water and electrical systems for the wine bar and two other tenants of the building. Bank of America has an ATM there, and the Valley Transportation Authority uses a portion as a break room for bus and light rail operators.
Drennan said that the train depot, reconstructed in 2002, was not built to house a retail tenant. After installing some new wiring, water meters and electrical panels, the issues are "all solved now" and a building permit could be issued in the "next week or so." Interior construction could begin anytime after that.
Managed by Jennifer Ayre and Brent Harrison, Savvy Cellar already operates a store in Redwood City (open in the late afternoon and evenings only) and maintains a Web site at www.savvycellar.com. The company plans to serve wine and "light foods," as well as offer wine tasting classes and wine by the bottle.
They will be paying the city $30,000 a year to lease the space, and the city is giving them $225,000 to improve the interior of the building.