Danville Hotel demolition set for October

Planners, developers 'moving at a brisk pace'

Danville's biggest eyesore will soon be demolished as plans to develop retail, business and living space move forward. The deteriorating Danville Hotel Wild West structures, which run from Hartz to Railroad to Prospect avenues, will be demolished sometime in October, Town Manager Joe Calabrigo said.

"(Developers Castle Companies) are planning to move ahead and demolish all of buildings on site with exception of two historic buildings," Calabrigo said. "Tenants, with the exception of Sideboard Cafe, will be vacated by the end of September."

The structures in question were built in the 1950s behind the historic Danville Hotel and its adjoining McCauley House. Approximately 14,387 square feet of existing retail, office and restaurant space will be torn down, to be replaced with 34,585 square feet of new residential, retail and restaurant space. Sixteen individual residential units are planned.

Before demolition can occur, Castle will need to make sure all utility services are discontinued and complete a hazardous materials removal report. Calabrigo said developers will have more details on a demolition date after the report is submitted; no exact date for demolition is unknown.

Principals from Castle Companies did not return calls for comment.

In its heyday, the big red gingerbread building housed the Silver Dollar Room, later the Danville Hotel Restaurant and Saloon, with smaller shops surrounding it and a large parking lot on two sides. It housed Celia's Mexican restaurant until about 2007.

Since then, although the walkways off Hartz Avenue have been well-maintained, the gingerbread structure has continued to deteriorate. Castle's Thomas Baldacci had plans in the early 2000s that called for a three-story structure with residential condos, commercial offices, retail stores and an underground parking garage. The town changed zoning to allow mixed uses on the site, but development was stalled due to bad economic times, said Baldacci.

In 2009-10, Baldacci and the town began again to consider the project, but this time without the third story and underground parking. Baldacci said he needed a plan the town approved in order to receive financing for the project, and he has been working to receive input from all the town departments, commissions and council members.

"I'm dedicated to doing a first-class job there," Baldacci told the Express this summer. "The town of Danville has an outstanding planning staff. I think that if there's a way to get it done, the town will be able to make something happen."

Before Baldacci and his team can begin construction or receive a building permit, they must meet a lengthy list of conditions of approval. Plans regarding signage, landscaping and renovating the historic Danville Hotel to its original condition are being discussed.

"There are still some details associated with the project that are going to need to go back to the Design Review Board or Heritage Design Committee because of the historic buildings on site," Calabrigo said. "Architectural details and... little things like the depth of a window that will create a certain shadow line or provide a certain impression when looking from across the street."

Calabrigo noted that, while the front of the Danville Hotel will be restored to its original historic condition, plans don't show what it would look like.

"I know folks are excited to see stuff get going down there. This is going to be a high visibility project and it's really important that we cover all the details and that it gets done right," he said. "We're making progress...I think everyone is anxious to see things get going."


Posted by Derek, a resident of Danville
on Sep 28, 2013 at 12:44 pm

While I recognize the "gingerbread" structures were built with shoddy materials and shoddy workmanship, it would not have been an eyesore if it had been maintained and re-built as needed. In it's heyday it fit the "old town" look far better than any of the monstrosities our current planners have allowed, with maybe two exceptions over the last 15 years. What guarantee do we have that the new eyesore won't be allowed to deteriorate?

Posted by Susan - , a resident of Danville
on Sep 30, 2013 at 6:40 am

It's sad to see the old hotel structure go. It's a reminder of the agrarian roots of this valley and is one of the most recognized landmarks in town. It's unfortunate the old hotel couldn't have been refurbished and restored (recall the Pleasanton Hotel).

It's not an "eyesore"; rather, it's a piece of history.

Posted by Rita, a resident of Danville
on Sep 30, 2013 at 7:03 am

So what the procedure for getting one of 16 units or are they already promised to Arenich and co? Or are they going to the stack and pack entitlement breeders?

Posted by Jennifer Brown, a resident of Danville
on Sep 30, 2013 at 7:30 am

I have lived in Danville for the past 47 years so please don't call one of my favorite memories an "eyesore!" I don't understand why it can't be restored so we end up with a darling downtown like "old town san diego"? The new modern looking buildings have no place here:(

Posted by mom of 3, a resident of Danville
on Sep 30, 2013 at 8:11 am

Of course it COULD be restored, but that is not what they have chosen to do. I don't trust the planning commission, town council or mayor to do anything other than what they want or what ABAG dictates. If you sit back and hope for the best you will certainly be disappointed.

Posted by Sad & Mad, a resident of Danville
on Sep 30, 2013 at 9:23 am

I agree with all the comments!!!
Are you listening planning commission & town council?? Of course you are not!!!!

What we citizens really DON'T want are ugly blocks of buildings there. We want it to be restored to the original look. I agree with most danville residents.......don't tear it down!! You call it an eyesore, we citizens call it history, town character and our roots.
We feel helpless to stop the "Coming Eyesore"!!

Posted by Huh?, a resident of Danville
on Sep 30, 2013 at 10:28 am

I hate to break into the usual round of reality-immune craziness, but:

1) The historic Danville Hotel ***will*** be refurbished and restored under the proposal. That's a central part of the plan.

2) The only thing being torn down is the tacky, pseudo-Disney "Wild West" kitsch and the deteriorating 50's-era former Celia's building, which lack anything remotely approaching "authenticity." That junk isn't "history" - it was a former developer's mid-20th Century bright idea to make the actual historical structures look "cool". You may have personal nostalgia for it like you would have for the McDonald's stand you hung out at as a teenager, but that doesn't make it "historic" or give it any more "character" than a pair of Golden Arches. Unlike the hotel building itself, it's junk, plain and simple. How well the new proposal will look I don't know - it doesn't sound like the details have been worked out yet from the article - but it can't be worse than what's there now.

3) Rita, your disgusting, hate filled screeds are an embarrassment to our community. You should have your mind washed out with soap.

Posted by RT, a resident of Danville
on Sep 30, 2013 at 11:36 am

When I read comments that support refurbishing the buildings, all I can think is how dreadfully uninformed the general public is. The richest person in the world who could willy nilly throw any amount of money at the buildings with not a care in the world, wouldn't refurbish those buildings for fear that family, friends and the general public would think they are truly stupid or gone certifiably crazy. So the folks to whom the amount of money required really matters, won't ever come forward because they too are afraid... of stupidly investing in a money loser. That was the shoddiest constructed set of buildings that I have seen in Danville in all my years. Good riddance.

Posted by danvillite, a resident of Danville
on Sep 30, 2013 at 11:58 am

Thank you to Huh and RT for your informed, fact-based comments. I agree. To the rest, recognize the years of investment of personal time and money that has been put into and will continue to be needed for this project to get done. As we can see from the current budget debacle in D.C., it is a difficult and harrowing task to please everyone and to reach the consensus needed to get ANYTHING like this done. Kudos to those who will move it forward to a positive outcome.

Posted by RUkidding, a resident of Danville
on Sep 30, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Hey Huh?, your post to Rita and the rest of us "uninformed Danville residents" shows what a pompous ... and self righteous egotist you and your Council lackeys really are.
It would seem more appropriate that you, your lackey crew and the mayor get your minds washed out a lot of objectivity, humility and courtesy.

Posted by voter, a resident of Danville
on Oct 1, 2013 at 9:27 am

Let's face it. The core problem here is that Danville residents believe that their government is out of touch with them. Let's elect some new faces in 2014. Storer and Stepper are up for re-election---good riddance to them!

Posted by Dickita P, a resident of Alamo
on Oct 1, 2013 at 1:56 pm

I can't wait for a brand new dog salon and artisanal cheese emporium that will beautifully capture the spirit and culture of our smug, self-serving new money community!

Posted by Huh?, a resident of Danville
on Oct 1, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Of course you're right, RUkidding. Who am I to take exception to a post which uses the expression "stack and pack entitlement breeders"? Obviously, you consider such expressions to be the epitome of humility, courtesy, and above all else, objectivity, and I accord your censure the full weight appropriate to your evident standards of morality and human decency.

Posted by Derek, a resident of Danville
on Oct 1, 2013 at 4:33 pm

I'm not sure what an "entitlement breeder" is but I'll give Rita credit for her creativity of expression, and for making me laugh.

"Stack & Pack" though I think is quite apt. Take a good look at the cubular carbuncle growing off the back of the A-frame house on the north-east corner of Linda Mesa & Railroad. Then ask yourself why someone - anyone - on the planning commission didn't suggest that the rear addition match the roof line of the original house that's now up against Railroad Ave. It is hard to imagine anything so mismatched, but then again it is hardly the first butt ugly structure you can view from Railroad.

Our wise town leaders seem to have three flavors with regard to what they permit for commercial development:

-Out of Place
-Homely or blocky
-All of the above

The north side of the Vet's Hall is a good example of the first. A nice structure that looks quite a lot like a library, but wholly unsuited where it faces Prospect. Walk down the same side of the street just a few paces to see one that isn't out of place.

As to the ugly and block shaped, who has time to even list them all? Sometimes a little kitsch isn't a bad thing. Forgive me if I don't trust our planners, but as they say, fool me seven times, shame on me.

Posted by Julia, a resident of Alamo
on Oct 2, 2013 at 9:47 am

Well again I am super pleased I live in beautiful Alamo...

I have said it many, many time before...You folks in Danville must stop blaming those self centered town leaders. They are doing whats best for themselves. You knew it was going to happen before you voted them into office. You were told many times what their plans were all about. Before the elections you received so much information how incompetent they were. But like always, you crazy Danville voters went to the polling booth and I guess said to your self, "what the heck, put them back in office and maybe they will do better" NAIVE, NAIVE OR JUST PLAIN STUPID.

So in closing, stop blaming the leaders YOU put into office.

Thanks for Listening, Julia Pardini from safe and sane Alamo.

PS...You folks in Danville got and will always get what you deserve.

Posted by Dickita P, a resident of Alamo
on Oct 2, 2013 at 11:16 am

Roses are red
But can come in all pinks
It's the end of the summer,
Julia P's lobotomy wound stinks

Posted by guynextdoor, a resident of Danville
on Oct 2, 2013 at 2:17 pm

If you click on the link you will learn that they are restoring the Danville Hotel and the McCauley house. The adjacent decrepit "novelty" structures are what is coming down. I'll miss the jail. And I certainly miss the the Danville hotel Restaurant and Saloon. In the '60s the restaurant served the best steaks and the saloon served the best martinis. I don't miss "gasoline alley".

Posted by guynextdoor, a resident of Danville
on Oct 2, 2013 at 2:17 pm

If you click on the link you will learn that they are restoring the Danville Hotel and the McCauley house. The adjacent decrepit "novelty" structures are what is coming down. I'll miss the jail. And I certainly miss the the Danville hotel Restaurant and Saloon. In the '60s the restaurant served the best steaks and the saloon served the best martinis. I don't miss "gasoline alley".

Posted by Long Time Resident., a resident of Danville
on Oct 2, 2013 at 6:32 pm

How quickly we forget that when we incorporated we wanted to retain the word "Town" to evoke the small town feeling. The Danville Hotel did have the best dinners. It was unfortunate that the planners throughout the years did not have that same continued vision for Danville. Certain the Town Council does not have that vision either nor do they want to consider the vision of residents. It is all about $$$$$!!!!
Not all of us voted for the present council and I am hoping that none of them are reelected. Also, I hope that when our mayor leaves and runs for the state position that we remind voters that he will not listen to them at that job either.

Posted by Bea, a resident of Danville
on Oct 5, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Wait? 16 units average household 2.3 autos and then guest parking.. the family (there's always at least one) with 4 cars where will they park? At the Lunardi? Street parking?

Oh more garages that fit a Barbie car? Watching my neighbor cruise the street trying to find a spot for his Yukon is painful.

Posted by Two Cents, a resident of Danville
on Oct 5, 2013 at 9:18 pm

Whatever they build they need to have it all open to one side. Every business has failed in the interior courtyard. I had worked at a few of them in the late 70's. One of my favorite shop was the dollhouse miniature shop.
The Town and County shopping center had a front building they removed because the courtyard businesses were going out if business as well.

Posted by DanvilleResident, a resident of Danville
on Oct 7, 2013 at 8:50 am

Out with the old and in with the new......I applaud they knocking it down and getting ride of the eye sore...its time has come and gone.

Cant wait to see the new project completed.

Posted by Julia, a resident of Alamo
on Oct 7, 2013 at 10:12 am

Hey Dickita from Alamo...You should move to Danville and get a taste of the local brain dead folks they walk the streets and live in Danville.

I am so disappointed you actually live in Alamo.

But I do want to thank you for reading and listing to my opinion. That alone make me happy.

Julia "P" by the way the "P" is for Pardini...a nice Italian Lady, but you new that already.

Posted by Alamo is BORING, a resident of Alamo
on Oct 7, 2013 at 1:39 pm

We are moving out of this aging, conservative, narrow minded community at end of the month. Better late than never!!

Posted by Joe Blow, a resident of Danville
on Oct 8, 2013 at 12:22 pm

[Removed because it contained foul language.]

Posted by Derek, a resident of Danville
on Oct 10, 2013 at 11:24 am

Joe is correct; there are currently as many large-space & mid size vacancies on Hartz as I can recall seeing in the nearly eight years we have lived here. We do not need more empty store fronts. Square foto rates of 3.20 to 3.75 a month are just not tenable for most businesses. It's starting to look like Benecia on a Winter Sunday.

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