The Oakley City Council is considering a proposal by the owner of the Bistro building along Main Street to construct a boutique wine tasting room next to the popular Bistro Punahele Tonnelie restaurant. The proposed project is envisioned for land currently owned by the city.
Owner Juli DelBarba appeared before the council at the July 11 meeting to present the concept, which would involve the sale of the two parcels adjacent to the Bistro totaling about 2,500 square feet. The parcels were originally purchased by the city’s former redevelopment agency as part of the downtown transit project and are located just east of the current restaurant building.
A city staff report suggests that if the council supports the project, the city could arrange a sale of the two parcels to DelBarba while sgesting a possible price of $30,000. City Manager Bryan Montgomery told the council the property currently has little value outside of DelBarba’s interest because of its odd triangle shape, access and location. Montgomery endorsed the proposal, saying the wine tasting operation would be a complementary addition to the downtown core. He noted the parcels were originally purchased for street improvements, and anyone other than DelBarba would have a difficult time building anything else on the property.
The proceeds from any sale of the parcels would have to be distributed among the public agencies that approved the first purchase.
DelBarba told the council she hopes to honor the area’s wine-making history with the project. She said she and her contractor are planning to use repurposed materials salvaged from area historic farms and buildings. DelBarba noted the “water tower” feature included in the new building’s design as another reflection of the area’s historic farming roots. She told the council she hoped to gain a full liquor license for the property.
Mayor Claire Alaura called the proposal a beautiful project and hopes the city can work with DelBarba to “make this a reality.”
Kevin Rohani, the city public works director, noted during the meeting that the soonest the project could be built would be next summer due to other nearby projects. The project is subject to further negotiations between DelBarba, city officials and the council.