New life at Glen Ellen's Jack London Village
Despite the rain and cold, work crews are hurrying to complete a cement ramp and walkway at Glen Ellen's Jack London Village, marking the first time the 47-year-old complex will meet modern ADA accessibility standards. The walkway, which will eventually lead to a lift to the second floor, is just one more thing on the laundry list of improvements the complex has needed.
“We are charging ahead,” said current owner Stephen Coates. “We are taking something already there and making it more accessible for everyone.”
Less than five years after purchasing the historic but run-down Jack London Village (some buildings are more than 100 years old), Coates, of JLV Family, LLC, has spent nearly $1.5 million transforming Jack London Village from a half-shuttered shopping center to a more vibrant community center.
Improvements have included rebuilding the bridge over the creek to the north parking lot ($75,000); new cement deck in front of Yeti Restaurant ($50,000); and a major installation of new walkways (which meet ADA guidelines) along the backside of the property, with railings and lighting ($100,000).
In addition to remodeling bridges and decks for ADA access, Coates spent $150,000 on a new parking lot at the south end of the facility, complete with lighting. By spring 2017, when construction is complete, two new public restrooms will be built near Yeti Restaurant's back deck, plus a lift to the second floor, and a complete remodel of the second floor office space. The office space on the second floor is one of only two spaces standing vacant today. The second is the restaurant space formerly occupied by Olive and Vine.
Prior to Coates' purchase, the property had not been maintained for many years. Coates bought the property from Westamerica Bank for $1.75 million out of foreclosure in 2012. The 3.5-acre property had been owned by Creekside 50 LLC and Santa Barbara-based developer Bernie MacElhenny for many years. When Creekside 50 filed for bankruptcy, Westamerica eventually took possession and put the property on the market.
In addition, Coates also bought the adjacent property, which currently serves as a parking lot on the north side of Jack London Village. That piece was also bank-owned, and the purchase price was $375,000.
Today, Jack London Village boasts two restaurants (Aventine and Yeti), two art galleries (Sculpturesite and Hopscotch Gifts & Gallery), Wine Country Chocolates, the new Horatius coffee shop and wine lounge, and offices for Jim Shere's psychotherapy practice, realtor Constance Sharpe, and the Marine Conservation Institute.
Out of the current hospitality tenants, Wine Country Chocolates and Yeti Restaurant have been there the longest. Wine Country Chocolates is run by mother and daughter team Betty and Caroline Kelly, who, you guessed it, love chocolate. The tasting bar offers samples of their delicious selection of chocolate truffles inspired by local vineyards as well as fruits, coffees, and liqueurs. Yeti, run by owner and chef Narayan Somname, who grew up in Nepal, offers a wide selection of superb Indian and Nepalese staples, plus local beer and wine. Newcomers on the block include Aventine, offering top-quality Italian fare in a fine dining setting (the third location, outside of Hollywood and San Francisco, for husband and wife team Adolfo and Toni Veronese); Sculpturesite Gallery (which moved from Cornerstone Sonoma), run by Brigitte MicMacker and John Denning; the whimsical Hopscotch Gallery & Gifts, whose tagline is “Where Dr. Seuss shops with Alice in Wonderland” (run by artists Kay Young and Jordan Celso); and Horatius coffee shop and wine lounge, which serves strong coffee, small plates and wine, and a little taste of old Portugal.
Check out the new website jacklondonvillage.net for more information. Jack London Village is located at 14301 Arnold Dr., Glen Ellen.
Winery gingerbread contestThrough Dec. 31, six Sonoma Valley wineries will be participating in the 11th Annual Sonoma Valley Winery Gingerbread Contest, sponsored by the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance.
Each participating winery will display delicious and decadent gingerbread creations in their tasting rooms. Visitors can pick up a map of all participating wineries at any location, and are invited to vote for their favorites either by on-site paper ballots or online at the Sonoma Valley Wine Facebook page. As an added bonus, each time voters cast a ballot, they'll be entered to win a case of hand-selected Sonoma Valley wines.
Participating wineries are are B.R. Cohn Winery in Glen Ellen, Chateau St. Jean in Kenwood, BRYTER Estates, Highway 12 Winery, Larson Family Winery, and Sonoma-Loeb, all in Sonoma.
For guests who want to spend a day touring the Gingerbread creations, Pure Luxury Transportation is offering special preferred pricing. Call 800-626-5466 and mention “Sonoma Valley Winery Gingerbread Contest” to receive the special program pricing.
For more information about the gingerbread contest or other Sonoma Valley events during the holidays, go to www.sonomavalleywine.com.