Reconstruction hums on Monterey Street

Jose Monte has resumed rehabilitation work on the old Hall's store at Sixth and Monterey streets in downtown Gilroy seen in this file photo.

The noise of saws, hammers and nails is a welcome sound along Monterey Street in Gilroy this summer, as two downtown buildings, the old Hall’s Building owned by Jose Monte and the building at 7320, 7330 and 7340 Monterey St. owned by K.C. Chen, are undergoing reconstruction.

K.C. Chen’s building, next to Predator’s Archery between Sixth and Seventh streets, is undergoing structural upgrades to allow for a change in use. The building, formerly a bar, upholstery shop, barber shop, among other uses, is being brought up to code so Chen, who also owns the Gilroy Dispatch building at 64 W. Sixth St., can rent to new tenants.

Chen has hired Reid Lerner Architects of Gilroy for the project. So far they have removed some non-load-bearing walls and the south exterior wall in preparation for the rebuild. According to city staff, the building’s permit allows for three commercial suites, all with new restrooms. Structural upgrades will include reinforcement of beams, columns and foundations to go along with a complete site improvement, all at an estimated cost of $250,000.

“The building is not more than 50 years old,” Lerner said. “It’s concrete, it’s solid, and it will have a new life. With a little more investment, the downtown can be really nice. There’s lots of potential in downtown Gilroy; we just need to get the word out to entrepreneurs and restaurateurs.”

To help potentially expand opportunities downtown, the Gilroy City Council met on Monday night to discuss a temporary ordinance for a two-year pilot program to allow ground floor offices north of Fourth street and south of Sixth street.

The city also has issued a building permit to Golden State Brew and Grill for construction of a full kitchen and sit-down restaurant for one of the downtown’s newest additions. Additionally,  the Hall’s Building, an old Gilroy landmark, is nearing the completion of a $40,000 seismic retrofitting.

Fortunately for Chen, the building is supported by a steel frame, meaning there is no need for a costly seismic retrofitting.