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Chez TJ, Tied House granted historic status

Original post made on Aug 9, 2019

A pair of old downtown restaurants that could have been demolished two years ago have been granted historic status. In a victory for local preservationists, the buildings that house Chez TJ and the Tied House brewery have both been added to the California Register of Historic Resources, further cementing their position as fixtures in the city.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, August 9, 2019, 12:00 AM

Comments (35)

14 people like this
Posted by Proud MV Resident
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2019 at 11:54 am

This is great news. I know one or both of those buildings was looking at the wrecking ball not long ago. The downtown really needs to hold onto as much its heritage as it can, and maintain a balance between old and new. Cities that have done just have better, more-inviting feels to them. And come on, there are plenty of places to build an office building without ripping out classic architecture!


20 people like this
Posted by Sane Mountain View
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 9, 2019 at 2:22 pm

Sane Mountain View is a registered user.

"An attorney representing Chez TJ dismissed the idea, pointing out that preservationists were rushing to attach significance to the building when it didn't have much history that was noteworthy.

"'The Weilheimer House? This is the first that I've ever heard of it,' said Peter Brewer, an attorney representing Chez TJ. 'This is a new (name) appointed to this house to push this through, but I don't believe this property has any events of historic significance.'"

Really? This attorney is hired to represent the owner at the state hearing about the building, and he's never heard of Weilheimers?

It's on the Chez TJ website. They've been marketing themselves for 30+ years as the home of one of the founders of Mountain View, with special building, history, yadda yadda.

Also I don't think they are going out of business. They listed a hostess job 5 days ago on a job site.


10 people like this
Posted by Mountain View Culture
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 9, 2019 at 2:48 pm

Mountain View Culture is a registered user.

Thank goodness we are saving a couple of the few older buildings left.

But what a drama queen George Aviet is. Maybe this makes for good food, but my understanding is buildings with historic status can make alterations and upgrades.

I watched the video of the presentation to the State Commission for both buildings:
Web Link

(Presentation starts at 59 minutes in) At about 1:17 minutes, when the Historic Commissioners respond, one says: "I don't think we are having a discussion on integrity because on the basis of what was shown (in the presentation on the house), there is clearly sufficient integrity. The rules do not require absolute integrity. And in a building that is over 100 years, modifications, especially in the spirit of what is an adaptive reuse, would be allowed, and desired, to keep the buidling in productive use.... We do not intend to constrain your business or prevent you from making money or doing anything with the house. It should be understood that listing on the CA reg or nat reg does not prevent you from modifying the building, changing it, selling it."

It's on the list, with a formal objection by owner, as 'eligible'. It does make you wonder why someone who bought the house, with historic status (it was listed on the MV city list, but he removed it 10y ago or so) and marketed the business for all these decades, wouldn't want to celebrate that.


7 people like this
Posted by Ok
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 9, 2019 at 3:39 pm

I travel in Europe a lot, and like to visit some ancient or medieval parts of the old cities. But Air Base Laundry, really? I understand that US history is short, but laundry???


2 people like this
Posted by come on.
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 9, 2019 at 9:17 pm

Granted? That implies the status was requested. Chez TJ didn't want this, at all. What a farce.


28 people like this
Posted by Humble observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 10, 2019 at 9:14 am

"Granted? That implies the status was requested. Chez TJ didn't want this, at all. What a farce."

Um, yes, this status was granted, after being emphatically requested, as the article carefully explained. Application to state officials made by an advocacy group in MV that seeks to slow further demolition of buildings widely seen by the public as defining MV's downtown character. Several massive, impersonal new office-construction projects in the downtown preceded this latest case (and being office projects, they also automatically exacerbated the existing jobs-housing imbalance and parking issues), prompting the Livable Mountain View group's formation and its opposition to the laundry-Weilheimer (Tied-House / TJ) replacement proposal. The immediate upshot is symbolic state historical registration and "eligibility" for national registration (which would've ensued in course, had the property owners not objected).
I can't explain the lawyer's quoted cluelessness or misrepresentation: Weilheimer House has been locally famous for decades, and figures in Nick Perry's popular local-history books.

Of COURSE the Weilheimer's owner wouldn't want to "celebrate" this development (to answer another, and earlier, strange remark). This case is a dispute between owners of two older buildings who want to redevelop them and cash out, vs. a citizens' group alarmed at recent effects of that trend and now trying to impede it.

I watch both camps from nearby, and have mixed feelings. Important private property rights conflicting with the cynical remaking of a small town. On one hand, I think many Livable Mountain View members are homeowners -- among the residents having greatest sense of "stake" in neighborhood character -- so I wonder how they'd feel if some group impeded them from selling their own property to the highest bidder? OTOH, the corner property next to Chez TJ stands as enduring reminder of unprincipled redevelopment. If developer Roger Burnell hadn't first gained popular and City support for replacing the old Pearson house there by repeatedly promising a public retail business ("such as a coffee shop") on the ground floor, then infamously broken that promise once the building was finished Web Link -- and the City, on top of that, done nothing to enforce the public benefit on which the project's approval had been predicated -- it wouldn't have so poisoned the environment for redevelopment into offices; Livable Mountain View might never have come together. BTW: It doesn't matter that some later projects, or the Tied-House / TJ proposal, do include "ground-floor retail" -- Burnell crossed a line, permanently destroying the possibility of public confidence in downtown developer ethics.


2 people like this
Posted by KeepBuildingsNew
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 10, 2019 at 8:10 pm

Horribly stupid.

Why can't Mountain View, in the heart of Silicon Valley, be a city that is constantly looking to grow and change?

Instead, like every small city, we have to cling to some stupid old place. There is a difference between "historic" and "old" and Mountain View should learn it.

Tear it down before everything is calcified.


24 people like this
Posted by Oh, Boy
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2019 at 9:27 pm

@KeepBuildingsNew:

If you'd have read the not-hard-to-find backgrounds on these two buildings, you'd have learned that they aren't just old, but indeed are historic, certainly by local standards. Maybe you're okay with yet another cold, sterile, style-less office monstrosity going up and eroding the downtown's character, but you're clearly among the minority on this one.

Oh, and maybe you should also invest some time to work on your metaphors -- "before everything is calcified"? Really?!


4 people like this
Posted by KeepBuildingsNew
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 11, 2019 at 6:05 am

Just because a building has history doesn't make it historic.

Yes, you can hunt for a reference that somebody once lived in this house who was mildly locally important.

But is anyone traveling to see either of these venues based on their historical import? Is there anybody doing a documentary on "air force laundromats of the 50s"?

If you say this site is important because of it's age, realize that in 40 years, those sterile office buildings will be equally historic and protected on the same basis.

We should be continually developing, or at least willing to return areas to open space. I'd bring favor of the city buying either of these establishments to turn into parks.


18 people like this
Posted by Humble observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 11, 2019 at 8:23 am

The person posting as "KeepBuildingsNew" either really does possess a very eccentric, out-of-touch perspective or is a troll just stirring up argument for kicks. Or a developer shill? Who knows.

Anyway, those comments reveal it's not someone with any degree of personal local experience. You hardly need to "hunt for a reference" about the Weilheimer House (it surfaces regularly in mainstream local-history contexts -- as I already mentioned above with examples; and the Weilheimer family and the nearby Weilheimer "store" on Castro Street also are periodic topics here on the MV Voice for 15 years or so: Web Link ).

I've explained I didn't take sides in the current LMV vs. building-owners dispute. But for someone seriously to argue (under the rhetoric of "grow and change") for paving over what's left of a distinctive 150-year-old neighborhood, the very factors that attract so many people to it, bespeaks either an indifferent non-resident or someone of rare insensitivity.


5 people like this
Posted by KeepBuldingsNew
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 11, 2019 at 8:32 am

Again, it is an old house with a history, and that doesn't make it "historic".

The fact that it has been around a long time means it likely has lead paint, inefficient heating and cooling, poor insulation, and a host of other issues.

It wasn't built as the first sustainable housing unit. It wasn't the keystone of the city. And the fact that nobody knows who "Weilheimer" is outside of preservationists kind of proves the point of how inconsequential it truly is.

Let it go. We can build so much better.


18 people like this
Posted by Humble observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 11, 2019 at 9:17 am

"that nobody knows who "Weilheimer" is outside of preservationists. . ."

No, YOU just don't know anything about Weilheimer. Don't wish to hurt your feelings here, but you aren't the measure of all mankind. This has nothing to do with "preservationists" ! Try reading a newspaper for a while, talking with your neighbors, going to the library. . .

Those arguments are silly and self-embarassing. Take your own advice and "Let it go."


Like this comment
Posted by KeepBuildingsNew
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 11, 2019 at 9:42 am

So I'm guessing the plan going forward is to keep the hoses of all mayors and successful business people.

I get it. You are old and want mountain view to stay they way it was when you were a teenager. That's a great way for progress. Keep on looking to the useless houses of the past, and stay in the mind of your long-gone youth.


5 people like this
Posted by Gullible Mountain View
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2019 at 10:25 am

The Nimby's (the no growth OMV peeps aka "Livable Mountain View" with their shuttle blockades aka traffic calming devices?) are employing unethical tactics to explicitly delay and possibly kill a much needed multi-use development opportunity downtown and more importantly they are delaying a toxic clean up. Mountain View already has a riddled RV problem and rotting rent controlled diminishing rental supply and now our FIRST TOXIC, former commercial laundry, now beer drinking historical landmark in downtown MV. Congratulations. There is nothing historical about an old house next door to the TIED House with no bedrooms, a commercial kitchen, a dying business plan and a man that would like to sell his restaurant and his personal property without the "help" of a misleading PAC oversight committee with their own very dark agenda. What could be a revitalized mix use development will become a weathered battle ground of lawsuits. BTW, in what world and by what standards is a "Quonset hut" with a stucco facade and poisoned ground water currently serving beer considered historic? Well, Chernobyl has become a tourist attraction, so I suppose anything is possible in Mountain View. "Come to Mountain View and visit the scourge of our EPA toxic sites, "we are saving them for you and your families".

The historic register could use some oversight. Once a tax dodge, is now a weapon in the "Nimby" quiver.

BTW, nobody travels from around the world to visit our "historic" downtown. All this nonsense is politically motivated and Livable Mountain View is a sham. These are the same people that favor rent control because they want to freeze Mountain View in time from any further development. They are in favor of expanding rent control for reasons opposite of what most people think. Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing. They want city street parking for themselves, no visitors, no business, just a return to yesteryear with chickens in the yard and their Ford 150's on their lawns out front. Makes for a good chuckle though. Believe what you want.


16 people like this
Posted by Oh, boy
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2019 at 12:51 pm

@KeepBuildingsNew & @Gullible Mountain View:

In the WBAL (Wildly Baseless Assumptions League), you two are All Stars!

I submit, respectively:

* "You are old and want mountain view to stay they way it was when you were a teenager."

* "These are the same people that favor rent control because they want to freeze Mountain View in time from any further development." and countless other examples throughout your drivel that are too numerous to list.

What is it that colors your warped outlooks -- over-active imaginations, unrestrained bitterness toward logic, a perverse fondness for bald-face lies, or a combination of all those?

Whatever, congratulations on making the All Star team!


19 people like this
Posted by Humble observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 11, 2019 at 12:59 pm

What an angry tirade from "Gullible." And almost as badly informed as "KeepBuildingsNew" (whose latest effort is "you are old" -- some people just can't accept that they're fundamentally in the wrong).

"much needed" [later, "revitalized"] multi-use development" = yet another OFFICE BUILDING (the last proposal for the site also included a ground-floor restaurant; but after Roger Burnell's debacle at the corner, it'd have to, to pass Council).

"multi-use development" is a spin phrase by someone either completely unaware of local trends, or very well aware of them and deliberately obfuscating. Calling office buildings "needed" implies a writer with vested interest either in the redevelopment, or in adding more jobs to downtown Mountain View (something almost everyone already agrees it has too many of).

How often do you see an actual resident, of any kind, speak or write that "Mountain View needs more offices?"

The phrase "mixed-use" often connotes housing -- not proposed here. The phrase was chosen to cloud the picture.

"the same people that favor rent control" -- well, I'm not in Livable MV, and I oppose rent control, because I know the downsides of it (to the general public, never mind landlords), and so do the few people I know who are in LMV. The average MV resident you see taking a public position supports more housing, to relieve the jobs-housing imbalance. It was office buildings that exacerbated the demand for housing and led to the move for rent control! But I am talking logic, and not everyone likes that.


10 people like this
Posted by Gullible Mountain View
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2019 at 3:13 pm

Scr&wing a couple of commercial property owners by painting their properties "historic" is dishonest, mean spirited and a ploy. It hides the real motive of Livable Mountain View.

in the end, new mixed use buildings will be built, but on the backs, AND TO THE DETRIMENT, of your fellow neighbors (2 business owners and property owners). These people contributed to the fabric that is Mountain View today. The property owners of Tied House and Chez TJ's have names, they are good people that want to move on. They are not retiring to Monte Carlo or San Tropez. Tying a rope around their neck is reprehensible. Shame on Livable Mountain View and their tactics.

Shine a light, The truth hurts once, but a lie lasts forever. Livable Mountain View is a sham. More aptly named Livable OMV. Don't park in front of my house, I need free city owned street parking permits:)

Nimby's will use any means necessary to achieve their end. Very sad, very personal. No growth is good growth according to this PAC. Again nothing historical, just posturing and roadblocks. City council can negotiate for a percentage of commercial, retail and residential (a percentage of BMR as well).


4 people like this
Posted by PA Resident
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2019 at 4:43 pm

I don't think it necessarily comes down to whether a building has historic value but it certainly comes down to whether a building and a business has character and value. For many people the two businesses in question are valuable assets not only for Mountain View but for areas surrounding MV that want the availability of these businesses. For those reasons, there are many who say that if they lose these businesses they are losing something they value as somewhere they frequent. It is nothing to do with the businesses are viable or whether they are making enough money to pay the rents. It is to do with the fact that established businesses are valued by those who reside nearby, yes the present residents, not the Googles or the wannabee residents who feel they deserve to live in a place that could be built if these businesses were knocked down to make room for pack and stack buildings, without character and carbon copy eateries without character.

How many times do restaurants open and subsequently close on Castro Street? That is a valid question. New businesses are two a penny, but old established businesses have their regular clientele who value what they already have rather than being forced to try something new that fails to please.

Think about the Milk Pail. It is gone now, but it was a very viable business that had to fight tooth and nail to keep itself going. It won a victory for the little guy. It was something that just wasn't replicated anywhere else nearby. Local residents wanted to keep the established business rather than any of the other cheese and produce stores in the area. It was a sad day when the Milk Pail decided to close, but they fought the good fight and prevailed.

Long live the Tied House and Chez TJ.


16 people like this
Posted by KeepBuildingsNew
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 11, 2019 at 6:04 pm

Just to clarify -- are you saying that these owner's may never stop running their businesses because you like to visit them occasionally?


10 people like this
Posted by Oh, boy
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2019 at 8:55 am

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


18 people like this
Posted by Spare Us the Drama
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2019 at 11:49 am

Destroying his life? I don't use this term lightly but, man, what a drama queen!

Dude, you run a successful business and you can sell your property for a mint -- WAY over what you paid for it. How does life-destruction factor into this?!


10 people like this
Posted by SP Phil
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 12, 2019 at 2:48 pm

SP Phil is a registered user.

With protected historical status, there is no way he can "sell his property for a mint," as you claim. It would have to remain as a (very) old house.


10 people like this
Posted by Mountain View Neighbor
a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 12, 2019 at 2:48 pm

Mountain View Neighbor is a registered user.

This is horrible. These are long-standing members of the community who have been targeted because of his good work in the community. Mountain View has repeatedly shown to be unfriendly to small businesses.

There have literally been thousands of buildings torn down, public schools turned into private schools, horrible ugly giant buildings built, housing developments built on easements, building on Moffett’s wildlife sanctuary, corporations having near sole access to shorelines. It’s insane. Yet, when the owners of two small businesses want to use their land differently, the whole community is up about it.

Really, this preservtion group should have started by keeping Google and some of the giants out. It’s mibdboggling that theybtarget the little guts because they know it’s useless to target the big developers.


8 people like this
Posted by DoctorData
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 12, 2019 at 3:28 pm

DoctorData is a registered user.

In the case of the Tied House the historical designation makes no sense. The building's only claim to fame is that it's old. It's not even an authentic Spanish building - it's a pastiche. And, in my opinion, it's a mildly ugly building hosting a mediocre restaurant.


2 people like this
Posted by PA Resident
a resident of another community
on Aug 12, 2019 at 3:56 pm

To "keepbuildingsnew"

Of course businesses that are popular to the community at large need to keep going. I may only visit occasionally, but these businesses are continually pulling in large numbers of customers from all over the region. Yes, we have to keep our established businesses running. We care about quality of life and being able to live our lives according to popular demand, not the latest fad.

The reason these businesses have been around for a long time is because they are popular. They are valued. They are established. They are serving a need within the community. They will still be popular when the latest trend is forgotten.


8 people like this
Posted by Ok
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 12, 2019 at 4:20 pm

@PA Resident
So, let say, you own a classic car that you park in your driveway and your neighbors enjoy looking at it. Then you are prohibited from selling it and you have to keep it, because it is so popular. Got it.


8 people like this
Posted by Seeing the Forest from the Trees
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2019 at 5:51 pm

@OK:

Nice analogy, but you're comparing apples to art supplies. A car, however classic, is expendable and serves limited public good (if any), whereas a property's structure, style and location help define a streetscape and neighborhood, which, in this case, indeed amounts to a significant public good. (Think what downtown MV would look like if all of the precious few remaining 19th Century buildings were torn down for a 21st Century stucco box!)

The Weilheimer House's (Chez TJ) owner deserves no sympathy, considering he ballyhoo'd the property's history to attract business only to later deem it expendable when it suits his interests -- interests that would net him a boatload of money. Sorry, George, but you can't have your cake and eat it, too.


2 people like this
Posted by KeepBuildingsNew
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 12, 2019 at 6:24 pm

So the owner, who doesn't want to keep running the business, is now required to run it? For how long? Is he allowed to retire or not? Is he required to find someone who will continue with the exact same menu and business for the spot before selling it?

Truly, is Mountain View allowed to grow at all, or should we consider it cast in amber, a fossil for everyone to look at but never change?


3 people like this
Posted by alexprime
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 12, 2019 at 10:23 pm

alexprime is a registered user.

Correct me if I'm wrong but the owners are still allowed to stop running these businesses, and allowed to sell for (arguably) a mint. I'm sure the properties are still worth a lot more than the last purchase price!
They are not going to be able to sell to developers who would demolish and replace the buildings with whatever the highest bidder deems most profitable (e.g. luxury homes and offices, or retail that will never open to the public (as the property across the street.)


2 people like this
Posted by SP Phil
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 12, 2019 at 10:44 pm

SP Phil is a registered user.

@ alexprime--You state: "Correct me if I'm wrong but the owners are still allowed to stop running these businesses, and allowed to sell for (arguably) a mint. I'm sure the properties are still worth a lot more than the last purchase price!"

Keep in mind, the protected status means the buildings can not be changed. In the case of Chez TJ, how many people are interested in buying--and living in--a large old house practically on Castro Street. In my neighborhood, eight blocks away, any house over 40 years old is going to be torn down and replaced with a new one. The purchase value is "in the land," not the building.

And in the case of the Tied House--someone will pay top dollar--or any dollar--for what if they can't change it?


4 people like this
Posted by SP Phil
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 12, 2019 at 11:05 pm

SP Phil is a registered user.

I would like to know who is behind "Livable Mountain View"--I hope the MV Voice will delve into this and report.
From what I can find on-line, the six organizers listed on the webpage for Livable Mountain View do not even give their full names! Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Ok
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 13, 2019 at 8:45 am

@Seeing
Nice, now we are talking about a public good. Please go back to school and read the public good definition, then go back and we’ll discuss it.


13 people like this
Posted by Seeing the Forest from the Trees
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2019 at 9:25 am

@KeepBuildingsNew:

Who says the Chez TJ owner is required to run his business if he doesn't want to? Nobody's stopping him from retiring or pursuing something else. Financially, he's sitting on a nice piece of property with what is now designated a historic house on it (and evidently was already recognized as such when he bought it) that, contrary to what some choose to believe, can serve purposes other than a restaurant. Your suggestion that the house, as is, would generate revenue ONLY if the restaurant continues in one form or another just doesn't pencil out. Maybe you should go ask that owner if he'd solicited/received other offers for the property that didn't involve tearing it down or moving (some of) it to an obscure location in order to erect another downtown office building. It's a safe bet somebody would be interested in it for its present appeal -- and NOT to remove it.

And before you use that cast-in-amber argument, let me suggest you visit cities large and small throughout the country that have had the foresight to blend old/classic structures with new construction to create towns and cities with far more visual and cultural appeal than those that, unfortunately, have rubber-stamped every building application submitted. Let's just be thankful Mountain View doesn't fit into that latter category.


16 people like this
Posted by Seeing the Forest from the Trees
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2019 at 9:36 am

@OK

If you truly believe that preserving some of a city's heritage -- architecturally or otherwise -- doesn't qualify as a public good, it is you, sir/madam, who should return to school.


15 people like this
Posted by Ok
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 13, 2019 at 11:20 am

@Seeing
Sir/madam, public good is financed by taxation, but we are talking about the former laundry building, not that pleasing from outside, that is owned and financed by a private citizen.


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