Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Coffee Tree Sips Long Gone, Nut Tree Sibling Falls
Demolition crews from Yelton Company Inc. raze the vacant Coffee Tree restaurant Tuesday afternoon. in Vacaville (Rick Roach/The Reporter)
A Cup of Progress
Sips Long Gone, Nut Tree Sibling Falls
By Tom Hall/Staff Writer
Though the last cup of joe was gulped down at the Coffee Tree Restaurant more than two years ago, the curiously-shaped landmark still stood as this week began as a reminder of days past.
But Tuesday, the process of ripping that reminder from the Vacaville landscape began.
Crews from locally-based Yelton Demolition Company spent the soupy Tuesday afternoon on Nut Tree Parkway tearing down the 40-year-old restaurant.
The company's Charlie Yelton said his crews likely will be working on the demolition the rest of this week.
Tom Angstadt, one of the owners of the restaurant and a principal in the Kivelstadt Group, said the demolition has been in the works for several years.
"We've been discussing taking it down for a while," he said Tuesday. "You're not going to re-lease that space."
The unique diner closed rather abruptly in November 2003 amid numerous financial challenges, including $1 million in structural improvements needed to meet the federally-mandated requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The locally-famous Power family opened Coffee Tree in 1965 as a sort of fast-food sibling to its Nut Tree restaurant, which sat on the north side of Interstate 80.
Nut Tree opened in 1921 and quickly became a favorite of locals and travelers alike for its unique take on California cuisine and beloved speciality items, including oversized cookies.
But because of a consistently red bottom line, Nut Tree proper closed in 1996. After a number of false starts, work is progressing on a major redevelopment of the Nut Tree area, led by regional developers Snell & Co. and Westrust Inc.
The first phase of the new Nut Tree complex, which includes a family park and a number of retail shops and eateries, is scheduled to be completed this summer. Future phases could add a hotel and conference center and up to 200 apartments to the site.
Further west from the Coffee Tree on Nut Tree Parkway, work is progressing on two new eateries - BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, and T.G.I. Friday's. Mike Palombo, the city's economic development director, said a redevelopment of the Coffee Tree site was a logical next step.
"This is the last readily available site," he said.
Angstadt said that the ownership group, which includes some members of the Power and Fairchild families, is talking to several possible tenants. He said he is currently unable to name suitors or offer any additional details of the redevelopment plans.
"We know what kind of development we want there, so it's really trying to find the right tenant," he said. "There's not a lot of sizzle beyond that right now."
Business writer Amanda Janis contributed to this report. Tom Hall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Solano EDC at 10:01 AM
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