(This post has been updated from the original version)
Two businesses are relocating from the old Mason’s building on the 900 block of First Street, as the building was tagged as having unreinforced masonary structural/foundational damage.
According to Community Development Director Christina Ratcliffe, the building— located adjacent to what is considered the first Masonic temple in California— was likely constructed in the 19th century. For decades, the building had been home to two tenants: Estey Real Estate– located at 935 First St.– and Adobe Second Chance Thrift Shop– located at 929 First St.
In June, Community Development staff received a complaint from a resident about a crack in the side of the building. After getting a hold of the owners, the department notified them about the crack and other possible concerns.
“They at first wanted to re-stucco the building,” Ratcliffe said. “It’s a brick building with stucco overlay on two sides. We said, ‘No, you need to do some investigation and let us know if this is just a superficial crack or if it’s something more significant.’”
The applicant later hired an engineer who examined the building and prepared a 21-page report. It was decided the crack was a serious issue.
“We determined it was not cosmetic,” Ratcliffe said. “The cracks were significant and structural and throughout the building, and it was in danger of falling.”
Ratcliffe said the owners were looking at permanent fixes for the building. In the meantime, the building has been given a red tag to let people know the structure is dangerous to enter. The two businesses were given notice to find new locations, but they have already been successful. Estey has relocated to 216 First St., and Adobe is in the process of moving into a new location at 431 First St., which had previously been the home of Ironhorse Home Furnishings before its relocation to Grant Street. At Adobe, a thrift store with proceeds benefiting alcohol rehabilitation programs, a First Street merchant donated the use of Metropolitan Van & Storage to help move items down the street.
Co-owner Jane Halbert is looking forward to being able to continue business in a new location.
“(We’re) hoping to reconnect with our customers and create the same sense of browsing and comfort and availability that customers know from us before,” she said. “I think our customers felt really comfortable coming in and browsing and being able to go in after work.”
Halbert said the official reopening has not been set, but she and co-owner Pat Purvis are hoping to be open by next weekend. However, she also noted that moving progress may depend a lot on weather conditions. In the meantime, people are still welcome to donate items by calling the direct line at 999-0039 or by leaving a message at 745-4565 or 745-6276.
As for the old building, Ratcliffe said the owners are looking at new ways to make it safe. Scaffolding is currently set up above the sidewalk to protect the street, and the city is looking at ways to make it sturdier.
Adobe will retain its old hours of 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Estey is open from 9:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. on weekdays.