Real estate and wine worlds abuzz with good Gilroy news

The Gilroy real estate world is abuzz with the news that the
venerable Jan Wallace
– for years the trusted face of Chicago Title Company – will
debut at Old Republic Title soon. After Chicago Title closed its
Gilroy office and Jan had to make the trek to Morgan Hill, things
were unsettled. But she’s back in Gilroy at the beautiful piazza
building at Santa Teresa Boulevard and
First Street where Westside Grill and Snap Fitness are. Welcome
home, Jan, it’s great to have you back and it’s a good sign, in my
book, that the real estate market will begin to slowly recover.
The Gilroy real estate world is abuzz with the news that the venerable Jan Wallace – for years the trusted face of Chicago Title Company – will debut at Old Republic Title soon. After Chicago Title closed its Gilroy office and Jan had to make the trek to Morgan Hill, things were unsettled. But she’s back in Gilroy at the beautiful piazza building at Santa Teresa Boulevard and First Street where Westside Grill and Snap Fitness are. Welcome home, Jan, it’s great to have you back and it’s a good sign, in my book, that the real estate market will begin to slowly recover.

Will we ever recover from a 200-mph plus train running through downtown Gilroy on elevated tracks? No, and though I’d like to believe High Speed Rail Authority Board member and mass transit booster Rod Diridon who holds out the carrot of a trenched train through downtown, I don’t. After listening to his tempting siren song and weighing it against bullet train detractors and realists, it’s just so far-fetched that Gilroy could trench through the length of the urban corridor downtown and cover it with a lovely promenade. It just isn’t going to happen.

What could happen is to route the train east of town at the 660 acres now reserved for industrial development – perhaps we could build a minor league baseball ballpark out there and make sensible devlopment around a new station. Meanwhile, that leaves us with the problem of no direct CalTrain hook-up with the bullet train station which is why the HSRA is pushing so hard for downtown.

Yet, there’s good news for downtown – an agreement has been reached between the Santa Clara Valley Winegrower’s Association and the Gilroy Downtown Business Association to co-host the first Wine Stroll in late May. Event goers will stroll through downtown and make various stops at businesses which will each host a different winery. Solis wines would be poured, for example, at Gracie’s Antiques, and Martin Ranch wines would be enjoyed at Lizzaran Restaurant. Toss in a little food, perhaps a street BBQ, and there’s benefit for all the businesses and the opportunity for locals to really get to know the area’s wines.

Our south Santa Clara Valley wineries, by the way, took a happy leap forward in the recent San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition – one of the world’s most prestigous. Jason-Stephens Winery, Fernwood Cellars, Guglielmo, Satori Cellars, Sycamore Creek, Clos LaChance, Fortino, Solis, Martin Ranch, Sarah’s, Creekview … the list of winners with winning multiple entries is long. We’ll publish the whole list with an accompanying story next week. If you haven’t been to a few local wineries recently, get out and check it out. What’s happening in our backyard is a significant uptick in quality wines that’s being boosted by a more sophisticated marketing approach and a realization that the area could become a viable alternative to Napa sooner rather than later. Valentine’s Day is coming, why not enjoy an event close to home at one of the wineries. Solis, for example, is hosting “Hearts, Wine and Chocolate” for $10 a ticket on Feb. 13 and 14. The settings are beautiful, the wines are very good and it’s supportive of an up-and-coming local industry.

St. Joseph’s Family Center is an industrious undertaking each and every year. Mark your calendars for the charitable group’s gobs of fun fundraising event for St. Patrick’s Day. The Chef du Jour for the March 13 event will be none other than the Italian corned beef man, Dave Bozzo, who cooked up a great Cioppino Dinner at the Elks last Friday. (My grandfather used to tell me that the B.P.O.E. initials in front of the Elks name stood for Best People on Earth). Well, now the only Gilroy Cioppino Feed I haven’t tried is the one at the Portuguese Hall. My buddy, Al Sturla, who lives out of town, has gone on numerous occasions, but I’ve missed out … When’s the next one, MayorAl?

Presumably there’s one in 2K10 … like that twist, the 2K start is way more optimistic than two thousand and ten … and optimism is in short supply these days.

But optimism is here for the Gilroy Assistance League which is now accepting grant requests to benefit local youth organizations. Last year, the GALS (those folks who run the South County Home Tour event every year) awarded $12,000 to various youth-oriented groups. So, get your formal grant request from the group’s website, www.gilroyassistanceleague.org, secure some cash and make Gilroy a better place. Patty Giacalone at 847-3036, has more details. Just a thought, but wouldn’t a few more youth mural projects like the one under the bridge across Thomas Road be fantastic …

Fantastic, too, was this email I received a few days back … “a friend told me that the Golden Oak Restaurant, now closed and for sale, is very haunted. (Ghosts seen by more than one person, cash register flying open, drinking glasses shattering, that sort of thing.)” Hmmm … must be confusing the place with Digger Dan’s.

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