Modesto will pay $100,000 to the owners of Gervasoni’s Restaurant to help them re-establish their business, which has to move to make way for a new downtown courthouse.
This is the city’s latest expense to come to light regarding the proposed 10th Street courthouse. The city is required to pay Rosalie Clark and her daughter Serena Sisson the $100,000 on March 1, according to a November agreement between the city and the two women, who bought the restaurant in 2012 from Gary and Myrna Gervasoni.
This comes on top of the roughly $40,000 the city paid the Gervasonis in December to pay off the balance of what Clark and Sisson owed them on the purchase of the restaurant. The Gervasonis retained ownership of the building and land, which they sold to the city in December. The purchase price included the roughly $40,000.
The state plans to build a $262.5 million courthouse on the city block between G and H streets and Ninth and 10th streets. The city bought the six privately owned parcels on the block, bundled them with the five parcels it owned at the site, and sold all of the parcels to the state in December for $5.45 million.
State officials said last month that construction of the courthouse is supposed to start in July 2017, with a completion date expected in February 2020. The courthouse will replace the antiquated downtown courthouse on I Street.
The tenants at the site of the new courthouse need to relocate by the end of this year. The state will pay their relocation costs, said Brent Sinclair, Modesto’s community and economic development director.
Sinclair said the state payment should be sufficient for all of the tenants, except for Gervasoni’s, the only restaurant at the site. He said restaurant owners incur much more expense when they re-establish their business at a new location. Those costs can include installing grease traps, additional drainage, upgrading the electrical system and remodeling.
“People are going to think that ($100,000) is a lot of money, but it’s not when you relocate a restaurant,” said Clark, a longtime Gervasoni’s chef. She and her daughter purchased the restaurant, but not the building and land, from Gary and Myrna Gervasoni.
Sinclair said Modesto is working with Clark and Sisson to help them find a new home for their restaurant. He said Modesto wants the restaurant to stay downtown and thrive.
The $100,000 will come from the roughly $286,000 the city netted from the sale of its property to the state, as well as additional revenue the city is receiving. He said as part of its deal with the state, Modesto is collecting rent from the tenants but also is responsible for expenses associated with the properties.
Gervasoni’s is an exception to this arrangement. Modesto stopped collecting the restaurant’s $3,000 a month rent in January, as part of the November agreement between Clark and Sisson and the city. But the two women are responsible for building maintenance and repairs.
Sinclair said that, overall, the city is bringing in more money than it is spending. He did not have more details but said he expects to present a full report next month to the City Council’s Finance Committee regarding the city’s anticipated revenues and expenses for the project.
Modesto has been criticized for its involvement in the courthouse project. The claims have included that Modesto has not been a good steward of taxpayer money. For instance, the city ultimately received about $286,000 for its property, though it was valued at $1 million.
But Sinclair and other city officials stress that a Tenth Street courthouse is a long-term investment in downtown, especially along Tenth Street. They say the courthouse will serve as another anchor along that stretch of downtown, joining the Gallo Center for the Arts, the DoubleTree Hotel and Tenth Street Place.
Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2316.