bank at Dolores and Seventh that developer John Mandurrago
tried for a decade to replace with housing and storefronts may
become an event center, according to a proposal slated for
review by the planning commission next week.
The company that purchased the property in August 2011, Cpines
7 LLC, submitted the proposal after being approached by Carmel
Residents Association member and city cultural commissioner
Kristy Downing and resident Fred Kern, according to managing
partner Jeffrey Peterson.
According to the applicants, the exterior of the modern-style
building designed by architect Walter Burde and built in 1972,
with its high ceilings, steep angles and large windows, will
remain unchanged, while the interior would undergo updating
and improvements to accommodate weddings, small conferences
and other events.
A commercial kitchen, for instance, would allow the facility
to offer full food and beverage services to its clients.
According to a project description drafted by Downing
— who took pains to point out she was not doing so as a
representative of the city — the former bank vault will be
used for cold storage.
The group envisions art shows, wine tastings, fashion shows
“and other events which will be open to the public and
encourage additional visitor and commercial activity in
downtown Carmel,” and will hold an open house Friday to field
questions from the public and hear people’s thoughts on the
proposal in advance of next Wednesday’s planning commission
“The concept is for the Event Center to enable local business
owners, either alone or in groups, to utilize the space as an
extension of their normal business facilities,” according to
the writeup. “In addition, the owners propose to donate one
free use day per month for use by local nonprofits or for
Its hours of operation would be from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and
city planner Marc Wiener said the maximum occupancy of the two
structures on the property is 200 people.
The planning commission first has to determine whether the
code allows the old bank building, which was most recently
occupied by retail stores Homescapes Carmel and Jan de Luz but
is again vacant, to serve as an event center, according to
“The planning commission’s really just considering the use,
whether it’s even permissible, and whether it should go
forward,” he said. “We don’t get many like this in Carmel.”
Wiener said the proposal will require some sort of
environmental review — at the least, an initial study.
The property has already been the subject of extensive study
in the form of a full environmental impact report commissioned
by Mandurrago that concluded the building was not historically
important. He had wanted to demolish it and build condos,
retail space and underground parking, but city officials and
preservationists determined it was “architecturally
significant.” Mandurrago revised the plans in attempts to
accommodate planners’ wishes, and added affordable housing in
an effort to bring about approval, but at the conclusion of a
convoluted process that spanned nearly a decade, the city
denied his project in 2009. The fight ended when Mandurrago
sued over the denial and lost in Monterey County Superior
Court in July 2010.
In addition to contemplating whether the proposed use is
permissible, commissioners will probably raise the issues of
water and parking during their conceptual hearing, according
to Wiener. He said Peterson is working with the Monterey
Peninsula Water Management District to determine how much
water the building can use, including whether it is entitled
to any of the city’s water credits.
Regarding parking, the code requires one parking spot per 600
square feet of floor area, but the commission could increase
the number of required spaces, according to Wiener. He
reported the applicants raised the possibility of offering
valet service that would utilize the north lot at Sunset
The owners will host their open house in the building at
Dolores and Seventh to collect community feedback Friday, Jan.
4, from 4 to 6 p.m., and the planning commission will meet in
city hall on Monte Verde Street south of Ocean Avenue at 4
p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9.