Negotiations Fail, Alvarado Street Market Hall Plan Ditched
February 12, 2013
The cartoonish paintings of fruit and vegetables on panels surrounding a burned-out lot on Monterey's Alvarado Street are as close as that property is going to come to the promised marketplace.
Jerry Anderson, property manager for landlord Saucito Land Company, told Monterey City Council Tuesday afternoon that negotiations with developer Doug Wiele (pictured) of Foothill Partners have failed.
"We worked on this for over four years, negotiating trying to make a deal to make that project happen downtown, and we just got to the point where we felt that enough was enough," Anderson says.
"We were shocked," Assistant City Manager Mike McCarthy says of Anderson's announcement.
A fire decimated 24,000 square feet of office and retail space at 459 Alvarado St. eight years ago, and Saucito entered into negotiations with Foothill in 2008. Together they hatched the idea of a marketplace, modeled after year-round farmers markets like Oakland's Rockridge Hall or a miniature version of San Francisco's Ferry Building.
"In 37 years of negotiating business agreements, I have never failed to come to terms before," says Wiele, who also developed the Trader Joe's shopping center of Munras Avenue.
Monterey City Manager Fred Meurer had asked for a signed lease by the end of January. "I had suspicions it might be more difficult than I’d hoped it was going to be," he says of the delay.
City Council had committed an extra water allocation of 1.6 acre-feet to the property to make the marketplace concept, with affordable housing units on an upper floor, financially viable. Meurer says he would've recommended revoking that water without a lease by about this time this year.
Anderson won't say what's next for the long-vacant property. "We’re going in a new direction, and we’re very excited about it," he says. He expects to have some information on plans ready within about three months.
Wiele says he'll continue pursuing other projects in the city: "We really like Monterey and we hope to be there for a long time.
"Maybe [the Alvarado Market Hall] was not meant to be. Maybe God is protecting each of us from something."