Tulare entrepreneur to heighten downtown experience

Adrian Herrera receives the green light from the site plan review committee for renovations to the old Toledo Jewelry building for tap room, residential spaces and rooftop patio

TULARE – Another piece of the Tulare downtown rehabilitation puzzle is falling into place as a taproom with residential living spaces and a possible rooftop bar is in the works.

 On June 22, Tulare’s site plan review committee approved plans for a rooftop patio on the old Toledo Jewelers building allowing entrepreneur Adrian Herrera the ability to move forward with plans.

“Now we have their blessing, so now the dust is settled,” Herrera said. “The work is actually starting now.”

Herrera is pouring his heart and soul into new endeavors geared to bring life into the downtown arena. In September of 2021, he bought the old Toledo Jewelers building. Since then, Herrera has been imagining and planning the possibilities for this building as well as other projects on his plate.

The vision for this building is to provide downtown with a tap room and patio where individuals can bring the whole family and grab a drink and hang out. There will be a large patio with seating and space for children to run around. There will also be room for different food trucks providing food for patrons. 

The second floor will house four separate residential units either for vacation rentals or long term residents. Of the four units, there will be two studio apartments, and two two-bedroom units. Now that the city has approved the conceptual plans for the rooftop patio, Herrera can move forward with more specific plans for the building. 

“Now, structural engineers are getting real plans,” Herrera said. “The architect is drawing up spec plans, electrical plans, plumbing plans, all that. So now we’re getting down to the details.”

At the site plan review meeting on Wednesday, the city also explained they are willing to work with Herrera on providing parking spots for residents in his building, with differentiating signage. The city plans to do more research, but it will likely require Herrera paying a licensing fee each year, the amount is currently unknown.

Nothing is set in stone as to who will be occupying the tap room. Currently, additional entrepreneurs Justin Mederos and his fiance Victoria McDaniel have submitted a proposal to open their business in Herrera’s tap room. The brewery will be called Tap 78, named as a tribute to the year Tulare was founded 1878.

“It’s paying homage to the roots of Tulare,” Mederos said. “Downtown was the only part of town back in those days. Also, to be a part of the restoration and revitalization of downtown, we think is something that’s a very cool and prestigious opportunity.”

Mederos said the idea is not to brew their own beer, but to promote as many local breweries as possible. They are currently working with Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) on getting the proper licensing. Tap 78 hopes to offer a little bit of everything from beer,  wine, champagne and even hard kombucha. While focusing on promoting local breweries, there is talk of branching out to the central coast as well. 

“We just want to try to bring people to their hometown again,” McDaniel said. “That’s why we want a family place that you can go to if you want to have a glass of wine and have your kids with you.”

Herrera has a lot of work to do as this building was built in 1921.  And adding a rooftop patio will require steel reinforcements to the building that wouldn’t necessarily be required otherwise. He said the roof must be replaced, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance must be met, and of course all other basic maintenance and cosmetic updates. 

The previous building owners were running an illegal marijuana grow operation out of the basement. As a result the electrical and plumbing were wired differently adding an additional speed bump for the Herrera’s.

“When I originally bought [the building], I actually had to sign a bunch of agreements agreeing to change out all the electrical, all the plumbing,” Herrera said. “Beside the shell of the building and some inside framing, it’s essentially going to be a brand new building.”

Herrrera has applied for the Downtown Façade, Revitalization and Accessibility Grant Program. This grant program has been put in place for entrepreneurs just like Herrera. The goal of the grant is to provide business owners, new and established, with a bit of a financial cushion to help aid in the revitalization of downtown. City Manager Marc Mondell is keen on making sure the private sector is on board with the city’s downtown rehabilitation plan.

Mondell plans to provide the private sector with a plan for the future to allow them to realize this will work. Currently there are several moving pieces, but the city is looking to lay the foundation. He wants the community to remain focused, confident and committed.

“People need to remain positive and focused and we need to stick to the plan,” Mondell said. “If we stick to the plan and the direction in the path, we will have positive results. If we don’t, then those things could be in jeopardy.”

In addition to Tap 78, Matt Taylor will have an office space in the building for his business Next Level Grips. Currently Taylor operates his business remotely.

“He will be putting in a green screen and a virtual golf deal where you can go in and try new golf heads and he can custom make you golf sets, golf fittings, golf grips,” Herrera said. “You can do that all from this location.”

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