After initial proposal for Boudin bakery at Montgomery Village fizzles, second try is a success
By KEVIN McCALLUM
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Five months ago, David Codding’s plans for a new Boudin SF bakery at his Montgomery Village shopping center received a chilly reception from the Santa Rosa Design Review Board.
Codding wanted a new tenant to anchor the northeast corner of the center, which his father Hugh Codding developed in the 1950s.
He figured Boudin, the San Francisco bakery popular for its novel sourdough creations and chowder-filled bread-bowls, would be a welcome replacement for the site formerly occupied by Copperfield’s books and Coldstone Creamery.
But the initial design he submitted was modeled after the popular sourdough chain’s flagship restaurant at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, complete with a silo in the shape of a water tower.
Board members criticized the architecture as “corporate” and “hokey,” called the landscaping inadequate and wanted to see better circulation for pedestrians.
Codding fumed. He called the process “a big waste of time,” vowed not to make the suggested changes and suggested he would appeal directly to the City Council.
Instead, Codding returned to the board Thursday with an apology and a completely new plan.
Bearing bags brimming with rolls and chowder as a sign of “truce,” Codding presented a plan designed by the firm of Santa Rosa architect Warren Hedgepeth, vice chairman of the board, who recused himself from the meeting.
The new design, with its tall windows, large outdoor patio and use of recycled materials, was warmly embraced. Board member Kevin Zucco called it “exciting, contemporary and flavorful.”
“I want to thank you for literally going back to the drawing board,” said board member Mark Hale.
Codding said Boudin executives initially were “shocked” when he showed them the redesigned building, but they came around.
“Now they really like it, thank goodness, and we have a signed lease,” Codding said.
The board gave the plan preliminary design approval, requesting only a few minor changes — including improved outdoor eating areas and more shade trees — before they grant final approval.
The episode highlights how the city’s Design Review Board can infuriate applicants with suggestions some find subjective, such as the choice of siding material or relative drought tolerance of landscaping grasses. But it also shows how the process can improve projects and result in developments more suited to Santa Rosa than they might otherwise be.
“I may not have appreciated it at the time of our first meeting in March, but upon reflection, your suggestions really did make this is a better project,” Codding wrote in a follow-up letter.
The building will be about 7,000 square feet, 36 percent smaller than the old one. It will include space for a second business, perhaps a coffee or juice shop.
The smaller structure will allow more parking spaces, which are in short supply at the northern end of the popular center. The plan also calls for a landscaped courtyard at the corner of Montgomery Drive and Farmers Lane, replacing one of the center’s iconic covered wagons.
The city and Codding tussled over a requirement that he construct a sidewalk along Midway Drive as part of the project. The city street has no sidewalks, forcing pedestrians to walk either in the road or under the building eves in front of the shops.
Codding worried about losing parking spaces for a sidewalk, but he ultimately agreed to build a walkway between parking spaces along a portion of Midway and to make other pedestrian improvements in the area.
“I’m proud of the project. I think it will be a nice addition to Santa Rosa,” Codding said.
(You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)