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Healdsburg Meat Co. Gets Sign-off For Old Post Office Site

Peter Seghesio's project to break ground in April 2013 with completion a year later.

 

Healdsburg leaders said this week they were happy to give a thumbs up for a two-story cured meats shop at 404 Center St., the site of the former Healdsburg Post Office that burned to the ground in August 2010.

"We think it's a great concept, and a great fit for the city," said winemaker and project developer Peter Seghesio, after getting a unanimous OK from Healdsburg City Council this week.

He said the two-story, would break ground in April 2013, with construction to be completed a year later.

"We're happy," Seghesio said of the approval decision. "We've been in a little bit of a holding pattern, and that allowed us to fine-tune the design."

Council members, affirming a similarly unanimous approval recommentation from the Healdsburg Planning Commission last month, made their ruling after Seghesio and his architect, Alan Cohen, showed a plan to increase available parking spaces from 16 already planned to 23 -- the minimum required under the city's code.

Seghesio said he would create the extra seven spaces by paving over a portion of the gravel lot at the at a cost of about $40,000. He said later that he probably could have waited a year until the city completed an expansion of its downtown parking exemption district, but "we didn't want to lose the momentum," Seghesio said.

The Healdsburg Meat Co. site, only about two blocks from is not currently within the downtown shopping district that is exempt from parking space requirements, but the city is planning to expand the exemption area in about a year.

"We could have waited but we chose to move forward," Seghesio said.

Currently, Seghesio is letting the city use the site rent-free to store its road construction equipment while

Seghesio declined to state the cost of the project. He said he and his wife Cathy had been concerned about the overall pricetag until his two sons reassured him that they were willing to help out.

"My kids Joey, 13, and Will, who's 9, offered to give me their savings from their 4-H pig sales," Seghesio said, with a chuckle. "They both agreed to invest in the project, and that got us over the hump."

Seghesio also noted that he is committed to preserving the aromatic rosemary bush at the corner of Center and North streets -- a favorite spice scavenging locale for local chefs.

"It's a tradition for our local chefs to come here, even when it was the old Post Office, to get their rosemary for cooking," Seghesio said. "We're going to keep it out front, even if we have to transplant it."

Another special feature of the project is Dr. John Henson, a meat professor at Fresno State University, whom Seghesio said he has put on a five-year retainer as a cured meats consultant. According to Seghesio, Henson has advised some of the most prominent and successful cured meat brands in the world.

"He's a meat scientist," Seghesio said. "We want to make sure every product we have in the shop qualifies for USDA certification."

According to an article in the Press Democrat, the store will offer Italian-style cured meats such as salami, prosciutto, copa and sopressata. To read the article, click here.

Vickie Norris August 25, 2012 at 05:36 PM
So the City of Healdsburg is giving them the space for parking? Is that fair? If I want to put an inlaw apartment on my lot - I can't get an exception or free space for parking!
Keri Brenner (Editor) August 25, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Hi Vickie: No, the city is not giving them the space...The Seghesios are paying $40,000 to pave the extra parking area at the Purity Building for the city. The city wants to pave the gravel lot at the Purity Building, so the Seghesio contribution will help the city get the job done. They are not getting any kind of exception or free ride...
Igor August 25, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Excuse me...did I loose something in the translation. EXTRA parking is being created by "paving a already extra (I guess that means overflow) gravel parking lot???" Sweetheart deal again maybe ??? ........ Please correct me...
Keri Brenner (Editor) August 25, 2012 at 06:27 PM
OK, well, let's see. I'll try again, as far as I understand it. (Anyone out there who can explain this better, please do). In order to meet the required number of parking spaces, the Seghesios are paying to have seven spaces paved over at the Purity Building, which is currently a gravel lot. I don't know that this is a "sweetheart deal" since it's pretty costly, but maybe I'm missing something.
Jim August 25, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Let's see, they allowed the city to use their lot to stage all of the work being done, that saved the city time and money, let alone less hassles for residents since the work is getting done faster since the trucks and heavy equipment don't have to be moved every day. Then they are paying to have a lot improved. You folks are complaining about a sweetheart deal? Lol.
Ann Carranza August 25, 2012 at 07:57 PM
The city council commended Alan Cohen, and by extension Pete Seghesio, for designing a building with 17 parking spaces on site--it was a testament to creative use of space. In order to accommodate the need for more parking Mr. Seghesio will pay the city to develop a site they had already planned on developing (the Cerri building site). In addition to the development of paved, striped parking places, the project will include a rain garden and bioswale to treat naturally what would have been runoff into Foss Creek. This project is a huge win-win for Mr. Seghesio and for the city. Pete Seghesio's project can move forward because he is paying to mitigate the effects of too-few parking spaces on his lot by providing parking for everyone elsewhere and the city (and its residents) win because a project the city cannot currently afford will be moved forward. Not only will all of us benefit from the development of more parking spaces within walking distance of all the stores around the Plaza and beyond, the restoration and protection of Foss Creek will be furthered, providing more habitat for our native species. The city isn't "giving" Mr. Seghesio anything--the city and Mr. Seghesio have created a mutually beneficial agreement that extends to the residents of the city and the creek.
Keri Brenner (Editor) August 25, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Thanks Ann for the added explanation!
Cathy Seghesio August 25, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Ann, thank you for clarifying for us! We hope that the 41 parking spots to be paved and striped at the Purity lot, along with the 17 parking spaces servicing our Healdsburg Meat Company help to address one of Healdsburg's hot-button issues. As the city embarks on a review of the parking exempt zones (all 3 other corners at the intersection of Center and North Streets are parking exempt) we could have waited to, perhaps, have no parking requirements and save ourselves quite a bit of money. We decided to move forward for our business and because we are eager to revive this important space in Healdsburg. Ms. Norris and Igor, please know that we are happy to invest in our hometown and that our work with city staff, the planning commission and city council were all very honest, fair and transparent.
Barbara Klein August 25, 2012 at 09:15 PM
I've had some of those sausages. If the rest of the food is as good it will be a hit!!

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