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Davis, California

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Changes to Anderson Bank Building proposed

There may be a new restaurant in the works downtown, but not without the approval of the Davis City Council.

With Togo’s leaving its current location in the Anderson Bank Building on Second Street, co-owner and building manager Jim Kidd is hoping a new restaurant will find a home in his building. To make the space more appealing to potential tenants, he wants to remove six parking spaces in front of the building to widen the sidewalk for an outdoor seating area.

Dos Coyotes has expressed interest in the space, as has a Chicago-style pizza restaurant.

Kidd presented the Davis City Council with an update on the prospects for the space at Tuesday’s meeting. He brought the council two requests: to sacrifice the six parking spaces, and to lower the building’s windowsills to make the windows operable.

The Anderson Bank Building was built by John Anderson, the city’s first mayor, in 1914. It is one of the city’s 17 historic landmarks, making renovating the building a delicate matter.

The council was unanimous in its decision that in order to preserve the historical integrity of the building, the windows should not be lowered.

“I think the Historic Resources Commission would be very interested in retaining the window heights,” said commission chair Rand Herbert at the meeting. “Windows are considered the most important character-defining features of a building.”

Addressing the request to make the windows operable, Herbert said that the task is “not impossible,” as long as appropriate materials are used and the windows remain historically accurate.

The question of eliminating six parking spaces did not find an easy answer. A city staff report estimated that the changes to the sidewalk would cost $40,000 and the loss of the parking spots would cost $30,000 in lost parking fees.

“This intersection is one of the busiest in terms of parking,” said Councilmember Sue Greenwald. She said she was interested in asking the tenant to pay for the parking fees lost.

Other councilmembers were more concerned with what kind of restaurant would take the place of Togo’s.

Councilmember Lamar Heystek’s concern rested with the type of restaurant entering the downtown culinary world.

“I think the restaurateur that we locate in that building should be someone that can add to the variety of culinary offerings in the downtown and not compete with the existing,” Heystek said. “This is an opportunity to diversify downtown business.”

Councilmember Stephen Souza said that should an upscale restaurant enter the space, an entrepreneur could take advantage of that and offer valet parking using the G Street garage, an idea that was also supported by Don Saylor.

Though the council would not entertain the idea of lowering the windowsills, they were supportive of the idea of improving the space.

“I don’t want to let this pass,” Saylor said. “I think we should jump all over it and try to do it.”

The approval process is still in its early stages. The council directed city staff to do more research on the project and bring an item back for future discussion.


ALI EDNEY can be reached at city@californiaaggie.com.


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