In February 2008, the (now-defunct) East Bay Business Times reported that the 51,343-square-foot high-rise had been sold to a developer. There was talk that the building, which sits on 1.3 acres, would be transformed into a boutique hotel.
I’ve been told that a preliminary application regarding this high-rise has been recently submitted to the City of Walnut Creek for consideration. No boutique hotel on the horizon. Instead, the proposal would involve demolishing the high-rise, mostly because it would need major earthquake retrofitting—a very costly endeavor, my source tells me.
Under the application, the developer would replace the high-rise and an adjacent 0.62-acre adjacent parcel with a mixed-use, four-story commercial and 50-unit residential complex. My source tells me that this complex would not include the Newell Promenade, the strip that includes the former Taxi’s and the new Little Star Café.
This new complex would stretch along South Main Street "up to and including the 7-Eleven" by Las Trampas Creek. The proposed housing units would include flats and two-story homes above ground-floor retail storefronts. Parking for residents and customers would be built underground.
The developer, Alamo Essex, is a joint venture that brings together two companies, the Alamo Group and the Essex Property Trust of Palo Alto, a publicly traded real estate investment trust. The Alamo Group “successfully revitalized’ several retail projects in downtown Walnut Creek, including McCovey’s Restaurant, Maria Maria, 1515 Restaurant Lounge, and Bing Crosby’s Restaurant and Piano Lounge.
Hmm. Do I detect the hands of members of the Dudum family in this project? Jeff Dudum is the CEO of Dudum Sports and Entertainment, which launched the nostalgia-themed restaurants McCovey’s, Maria Maria, and Bing Crosby’s. 1515 Restaurant Lounge is the vision of another Dudum, Jeff’s first cousin Tony Dudum.
As mentioned above, the application to tear down the high-rise and transform it into the residential and commercial complex is preliminary. We’ll keep an eye on how the project progresses, and see what people living and working near the project have to say.