Danville Express

Newsfront - December 28, 2007

Architectural award for renovated Podva House

Danville recognizes Branagh Development for work on historic site

by Jordan M. Doronila

Walk on the wooden floors. Feel the varnished tables. Sit by the fireplace. Welcome to Danville's historic Shuey-Podva House, now owned and occupied by developer Peter Branagh.

The Town of Danville presented a plaque to Branagh Development on Wednesday, Dec. 12, at the Podva House for renovating the historic site. Town staff also presented the family-owned company and SZFM Architects with an architectural award for their work, at Danville's annual Mayor's Installation and Community Service Awards ceremony earlier this month.

"We were excited to be honored," said Matt Branagh, co-owner of Branagh Development and son of Peter Branagh. "We took this goal on and it's finally been achieved."

"It's a beautiful town," he added. "We love doing business here."

The Italianate Victorian house is on 100 School St. on the corner of Hartz Avenue in downtown Danville. The Shuey family bought lot and built the house around 1892, said Beverly Lane, curator for the Museum of the San Ramon Valley.

Branagh Development purchased the home from the Podvas in 2005, said Catarina Kidd, town associate planner and Heritage Resource Commission liaison.

When the company bought the property, the Podva house needed a new foundation and repair. The roof was leaking, Kidd said.

"We always saw this building in its dilapidated state," said Matt Branagh said.

"Lots of work needed" to be done, Kidd said.

After buying the property, Branagh said, it took approximately three years to finish renovations.

The Heritage Resource Commission reviewed the project and made sure the developer followed the town's guidelines.

"I think this has been a long process," he said.

The company lifted the house up to build a basement underneath, moved it forward toward School Street, and remodeled the site's old garage. The Pacific Bay Interiors at The White House, which is run by Matt Branagh's mom, now operates in the garage.

Town staff said they are impressed with the company's efforts. Branagh said people have come up to him, asking when "the museum" is open.

"I have nothing but great things to say about the project," Kidd said. "It was really quality, through every step of the way."


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