Those major city projects complement a string of new businesses that have opened along Sixth Street, not to forget the sprucing up of the Moose Lodge, the successor to the 1899 Odd Fellows Hall.
But what about on the other side of Central Avenue, on West Sixth Street?
The large vacant lot at the northwest corner of the roundabout remains undeveloped, but builder-developer Don Cose and sons Dale and Greg, who restored the Hotel Western on the east side of Central, still have hopes of one day constructing a multilevel building where the Fabian-Grunauer Store once stood.
That could take some time, but the Cose guys are already making moves to start development on Sixth Street to the west side of Central with the restoration of the building at 49 W. Sixth.
The building with a white brick front is on the west side of the original West Side Bank building, which now houses a real estate office after a stone-decoration firm came and went.
Both buildings were constructed in 1910, according to historic-building surveys of the downtown. The building at 49 W. Sixth housed several businesses through the years and then became a church, The Temple Bethel of Tracy.
The church is long gone, and the building has been vacant for quite some time.
Dale showed me through the old building last week, and although it appears fairly substantial from the front, the interior needs a lot of work. In fact, all that’s left of the roof is a few exposed beams.
To restore the building, the roof will have to be replaced and, in the process, tied to the unreinforced brick walls to create a structurally sound perimeter for the 110-square-foot building, Dale said.
Until the roof work is completed, steel poles are propping up the walls, the first phase of the restoration process.
When completed in about six months, the Coses want the building to have two front doors, enabling it to house either one or two businesses.
“We have had a number of inquiries into spaces for small businesses, including restaurants,” Dale said. “We believe there is a market for several uses, especially with what has occurred on the other side of Central.”
It appears that the resurrection of Tracy’s first business street — originally called Front Street — still has some room to grow.
A winery destination
Every May for quite a few years, we’ve driven to Sonoma County with friends Don and Coleen Bianchi to visit several wineries — and pick up a few bottles along the way.
No, we haven’t gone to the Napa Valley, a crowded wine-country magnet for many. Our destination each year has been the Alexander Valley, north of Santa Rosa and Healdsburg.
Compared to the Napa Valley, it is much less cluttered with wineries and tourists and has a pristine feeling with a carpet of lush, green grape vines stretching along both sides of the Russian River.
To the south of the valley, Healdsburg has morphed in the past two decades from a mostly farm town to a sophisticated wine country stop, with upscale shops and high-end restaurants.
Geyserville in the Alexander Valley, in contrast, has remained pretty much an unimposing village with a few stores, a pizza place and a local (and quite good) Italian restaurant.
This year, however, we found the restaurant closed on Monday night, and with the advice of locals, headed for relatively new — and expansive — addition to the Alexander Valley landscape: the Francis Ford Coppola Winery.
In a hillside alcove west of the valley floor, it has taken over the original building of Chateau Souverain and has added all kinds of new elements before and after reopening in the fall of 2010.
The remodeling has created a new look to the tasting room and two restaurants, adding a motion picture showcase as befitting the director of “The Godfather” series and other major productions. The Tucker auto used in the movie “Tucker” is a star attraction.
Outside, a large swimming pool has recently been added, complemented by changing “cabines” that go for a hundred bucks a day.
Coppola has created a winery-resort for visitors to the wine country. There is no hotel on the property, but that could come later. Fortunately, the Coppola Winery is off the valley floor and several miles from Geyserville, which has stayed mostly the same.
Changes are coming Alexander Valley’s way, but we hope they aren’t too much, or too soon.
• Sam Matthews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus, can be reached at 830-4234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.