Shop owners Tyler and Tolan Florence hope to time the creation of the demo kitchen with the retrofit work occurring in their building’s adjacent shop, which Vintage Wine & Spirits vacated earlier this year, and the subsequent construction of the four already-approved “Aloha Lofts” residential units on the second floor of the building.
“Ever since we opened in 2008, we have wanted to host cooking classes, demonstrations and private events in our shop,” Tyler and Tolan Florence wrote in an email to customers earlier this year. “The building’s construction provided a long-sought opportunity to build a test kitchen at a time when the customer experience might be disrupted anyway by the dust and noise coming from the second floor.”
The Planning Commission approved the Aloha Lofts – four rental units between 750 and 940 square feet in size – in October 2012. Lee Lum L.P. has owned the building and the large parking lot behind it for 20 years.
The eventual residents of the Aloha Lofts will be the first people since 1956 to live on the second floor of one of downtown Mill Valley’s most prominent buildings. It was built by Michael O’Shaughnessy, who owned it until he died in 1934, according to Barbara Ford of the Mill Valley Historical Society. It is widely known as the O’Shaughnessy Building, she said.
The upstairs space was condemned in 1956 after serving as a lodging house of sorts during World War II for employees of the Sausalito Shipyards and the Red Cross, operating under the name the Aloha Lido Hotel. Incredibly, the 4,000-square-foot space at Throckmorton and Corte Madera avenues has been empty ever since, through multiple building owners and many popular tenants in the storefronts below.
San Rafael attorney Riley Hurd will represent the Tyler Florence Store at the April 28 hearing.
City officials remind local business owners and residents that all interested persons are welcome to attend and to comment, in person or in writing, at the public hearing. All Planning Commission meetings are webcast live and archived and may be viewed by clicking here.