Gold Rush project moves closer to final approval |

Gold Rush project moves closer to final approval

A retail and office project with a Gold Rush flair on an empty downtown lot could get final approval from the Grass Valley City Council at the end of the month.

LaVonne Mullin, of WCS Properties LLC outside Nevada City, has proposed retail shops on the ground floor and office space on the second floor of a two-story, 3,194-square-foot commercial building at the corner of East Main and Richardson streets, across from the Grass Valley post office. The building would rest on a 7,400-square-foot property within the city’s redevelopment district.

The City Council, which also sits as the city’s redevelopment agency, could give final approval on the project at its July 31 council meeting or a later meeting, Community Development Director Joe Heckel said.

“I think it’s a very good-looking building,” Planning Commissioner David Emanuel said at a meeting late Tuesday, when commissioners approved the project. “It’ll make a great gateway.”

Architect Brent Daggett’s designs call for a mixture of Gold Rush styles, evoking an 1880s’ street. Plans include a brick body, iron shutters along the front and a steel balcony, according to a city staff report from Associate Planner Dan Chance.

Planning commissioners effusively praised Mullins’ proposal for the property, which she owns. They approved the project on a 4-0 vote, with Commissioner Rey Johnson absent.

Having a Gold Rush design at that intersection is crucial to attracting more people downtown, commission Chairwoman Eleanor Kenitzer said.

Commissioner Ralph Silberstein praised the plan, too, but wanted more landscaping and fewer parking spaces.

“We should get rid of a parking spot and get another tree in there,” Silberstein said.

But parking encourages shoppers and helps business owners, said Howard Levine, Grass Valley Downtown Association executive director.

“Every time we lose a parking space, we lose a valuable asset in the downtown,” Levine said.

“I look at trees that way,” Silberstein responded.

If approved, the project could start construction by late summer or early fall, Daggett said.


To contact Staff Writer Greg Moberly, e-mail or call 477-4234.

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