News

Tuesday: Council weighs moving or tearing down Chez TJ, Tied House buildings

Council to discuss preserving historic restaurant sites

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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Tuesday: Council weighs moving or tearing down Chez TJ, Tied House buildings

Council to discuss preserving historic restaurant sites

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Mon, Jun 12, 2017, 11:55 am

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.

Comments

Resident
Old Mountain View
on Jun 12, 2017 at 1:42 pm
Resident, Old Mountain View
on Jun 12, 2017 at 1:42 pm

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.


Thanks for the review
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2017 at 2:03 pm
Thanks for the review, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2017 at 2:03 pm

No, I'm very VERY glad the city reviews these things. Otherwise property owners would be running rampant turning our city into a hodge-podge mismatch of overbuilt monstrosities.


Steve
Sylvan Park
on Jun 12, 2017 at 2:23 pm
Steve, Sylvan Park
on Jun 12, 2017 at 2:23 pm

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.


Steve
Monta Loma
on Jun 12, 2017 at 2:24 pm
Steve, Monta Loma
on Jun 12, 2017 at 2:24 pm

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.


Resident
Cuesta Park
on Jun 12, 2017 at 2:40 pm
Resident, Cuesta Park
on Jun 12, 2017 at 2:40 pm

Still bummed about this. Two of the handful of remaining unique places left downtown. Pieces of MV's history. ACROSS THE STREET from an empty lot.


Glenn Meier
Blossom Valley
on Jun 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm
Glenn Meier, Blossom Valley
on Jun 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm

If you move it it will just clutter up the place you move it to. Maybe we need a dump for historic buildings.


appalled
Old Mountain View
on Jun 12, 2017 at 3:09 pm
appalled, Old Mountain View
on Jun 12, 2017 at 3:09 pm

We are heading towards being like downtown Sunnyvale. That is awful! I wonder if this thread of comments is being salted by people who are paid directly by the developers. Uggh. Sterilizing Mountain View is not a good idea.


MyOpinion
Sylvan Park
on Jun 12, 2017 at 3:09 pm
MyOpinion, Sylvan Park
on Jun 12, 2017 at 3:09 pm

Towns with a strong sense of historic preservation are nice places to live and property values stay strong. Honestly it's too late for Mountain View, my guess is that the Council will bless the project. That's how it always goes. If they vote against it I will be very pleasantly surprised. I am very glad I never purchased a place downtown, the high density commericial projects are smothering the downtown area. When the downturn comes it will be ghost town.


Home Town Girl
another community
on Jun 12, 2017 at 3:17 pm
Home Town Girl, another community
on Jun 12, 2017 at 3:17 pm

Stop the madness! Chez TJ is an iconic thread in the fabric of Mt. View and the building should absolutely be protected from demolition or relocation. Less new structures and more preservation of old school charm should be a #1 priority for the city council (all of whom, I'm confident, have enjoyed a great dining experience at Chez TJ's)...sometimes history should trump greed! Otherwise, what do we have left to remind us of where and who we came from?


David Moore
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2017 at 3:20 pm
David Moore, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2017 at 3:20 pm

It's a shame Mountain View city council continues to allow more money grubbing builders to take over the entire city. Just look around anywhere from San Antonio to El Camino to Castro. Soon there will be no "mountain view" from any corner. If the Tied House owners want to sell out at a no doubt enormous payday, then so be it. But a decent place to have a meal and a fresh beer is becoming few and far between.


Sentimental
Cuesta Park
on Jun 12, 2017 at 3:34 pm
Sentimental, Cuesta Park
on Jun 12, 2017 at 3:34 pm

My wife and I met at the beer garden at the Tied House 30 years ago. I guess we should bring our daughters there before it is destroyed by a wrecking ball.


Resident
Old Mountain View
on Jun 12, 2017 at 4:54 pm
Resident, Old Mountain View
on Jun 12, 2017 at 4:54 pm

" Chez TJ is an iconic thread in the fabric of Mt. View and the building should absolutely be protected from demolition or relocation."

In other words, the current owner should be forced to keep that building there, pay for property tax no matter whether he
actually wants to run his business there or not.


Older resident
Blossom Valley
on Jun 12, 2017 at 5:00 pm
Older resident, Blossom Valley
on Jun 12, 2017 at 5:00 pm

Remember all the effort they made to save that charming old house on the corner of Villa and Bryant? Eventually it was torn down. Same thing will happen to the Chez TJ. Nobody cares. Everyone is out for themselves.

Look at ALL the changes along ECR, San Antonio, Castro Street and Moffett Blvd. Is your life any better for this?


Chez tj building should be relocated
Rex Manor
on Jun 12, 2017 at 5:33 pm
Chez tj building should be relocated , Rex Manor
on Jun 12, 2017 at 5:33 pm

The city does have a perfect place for historical buildings, shoreline park. Put it is next to rengstorff house.

That said, it would be nice if we got something other than a steel and glass replacement. Something that looks Spanish/historical not office-spacey.


Seriously
Martens-Carmelita
on Jun 12, 2017 at 6:16 pm
Seriously, Martens-Carmelita
on Jun 12, 2017 at 6:16 pm

I can't believe that there are so many comments here that support this proposal. As for you "Resident" of Old Mountain View - the owner of Chez TJ's isn't being forced to do anything! He can sell his property just like anyone else. However, owning a unique historic building comes with responsibilities and I sincerely hope that the council recognizes this and rejects the plans.
The current owner of Chez TJ doesn't seem to give any credit for the success of his restaurant to the ambience of this Victorian house. I don't rate his chances in a boring, new office building. His food is not that great.


Neighbor
Shoreline West
on Jun 12, 2017 at 6:49 pm
Neighbor, Shoreline West
on Jun 12, 2017 at 6:49 pm

Sheesh, here we go again... This council hasn't met a development they don't like, so I'm not holding my breath that these buildings will survive. The person that posted above is correct. We are heading toward the "Sunnyvale-ification" of our downtown...


SRB
Registered user
St. Francis Acres
on Jun 12, 2017 at 7:03 pm
SRB, St. Francis Acres
Registered user
on Jun 12, 2017 at 7:03 pm

Why can't the project be designed to keep and incorporate the historic facades (at least for the Tied House building)? That's a pretty common historical preservation requirement all over the world. This would keep the streetscape diverse and interesting vs. adding yet another anytown "contemporary" office building.

Hopefully, the City learned its lesson from the adjacent office building where the promised street level cafe never materialized.


Pat
Castro City
on Jun 12, 2017 at 8:14 pm
Pat, Castro City
on Jun 12, 2017 at 8:14 pm

So the same thing is happening to businesses as residents. Everyone's getting pushed out to make room for the 1% projects. Soon there will be no Mountain View. But I'm sure City Concil are looking forward to their payday. Selling out seems to be common these days. Whatever happened to integrity and ethics?


Jes' Sayin'
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2017 at 11:16 pm
Jes' Sayin', Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2017 at 11:16 pm

Anyone ever been to San Diego Old Town? Nearby they have quite a few of their historic houses all grouped together for folks to visit. It attracts quite a few tourists. This can work. We should seriously consider it, in Shoreline or elsewhere, whatever makes the most sense.


Older resident
Blossom Valley
on Jun 13, 2017 at 8:04 am
Older resident, Blossom Valley
on Jun 13, 2017 at 8:04 am

Actually to lead to "Sunnyvale-ification" would mean to stop construction half way through the project and wait for ten years while Peter Pau and his Sand Hill pals sue everyone.


AC
Registered user
another community
on Jun 13, 2017 at 10:16 am
AC, another community
Registered user
on Jun 13, 2017 at 10:16 am

@Pat

"Whatever happened to integrity and ethics?"

I've thought about that question and tried to observe for some time now. I think I have an answer for you; but I get the impression you won't like it any more than I do.

- It's not realistic
- It's not practical
- It's inefficient
- They have no basis in fact

If "current reality", "practical", "efficient", and "stick to the facts" are all that matter; integrity and ethics have little usefulness.

The powers that be don't mean bad, I'm sure. But it seems that folks don't want to take the responsibility (and the blame) for taking a stand on something that isn't conveniently proved with a stack of slides and paperwork. If it takes standing for an issue, explaining it, communicating it, actually getting everyone to weigh in on it... it's too much work, waste of time and resource, and inefficient. Easier to run some numbers and make the rest of us feel like we're non-progressive for having a different point of view.

I was at the meeting where they decided to push through closing Castro at Central Expressway. No one meant ill; I am confident the Council had good intentions.

Just... I dunno. I felt that no one took a real stand. Letting the facts which were gathered (facts, which I don't doubt) speak for them.

May as well feed all plans and proposals to an algorithm. No variance, and predictable outcome. And all of it is the slave of whoever wrote (or tuned or tweaked) the algorithm.


Historically significant?
Old Mountain View
on Jun 13, 2017 at 2:55 pm
Historically significant?, Old Mountain View
on Jun 13, 2017 at 2:55 pm

Why would the city slap a historic sticker on an old Quonset hut that housed a dry-cleaning plant? Is a brewpub in a modified Quonset hut historically significant? Over reach by the city, they simply desired control over the property.

Why would the city slap a historic sticker on an old house that was heavily modified to support a Michelin rated restaurant? Over reach by the city, they simply desired control over the property.

A Quonset hut does not need to be saved or moved and neither does an old heavily modified house that is no longer a home. How may original bedrooms are left? Is the kitchen original?. Chez TJ will live on in some form in the new development and the owners of Tied House can get on brewing great beer for their wholesale business. George could serve Tied House beers in his new restaurant. MV will get loads of fees from the developer. George Aviet embarks on a new adventure and Tied House beers get more exposure in more restaurants. Everyone involved gets what they need.

Palo Alto did not find their Quonset hut(Old Pro-El Camino)historically significant. I feel sorry for the property owners caught up in this tom- foolery.


YIMBY
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2017 at 3:32 pm
YIMBY, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2017 at 3:32 pm

@Pat

Yeah, it turns out that businesses rent property same as everyone else, and when you adamantly restrict new construction that's supposed to satiate demand, the resulting increased housing costs impacts them just the same. Mind blowing, right?

And to be clear, the only 1%ers here are home owners sitting on property in excess of a million dollars that they don't pay taxes on, demanding no new construction, yet seemingly incredulous to how that pushes out businesses and people around them.


ZDee
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2017 at 4:28 pm
ZDee, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2017 at 4:28 pm

I am very sad that Mountain View will lose some its character which erosion of non-franchise, unique restaurants. There is a reason why I chose to spend my time with friends in Mountain View as opposed to other downtowns that all look the same. Oh well, progress embraced.


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