The city of Fairfield is looking to make used of the building that was home to Pepperbelly's Comedy Club before the January 25, 2013 fire destroyed most of the interior.


Fairfield eyes pact with Pepperbelly’s owner

By From page A4 | March 01, 2014

FAIRFIELD — The city would pay $6,300 for conceptual architectural plans of the Pepperbelly’s comedy club site to use as  documents in business recruitment if the Fairfield City Council approves the proposal.

Before the Jan. 25, 2013, fire, Pepperbelly’s was an anchor of downtown and provided regional name recognition that created revenue from outside Solano County, according to a city staff report.

“It’s a landmark-type building,” Fairfield Vice Mayor Rick Vaccaro said of the 849 Texas St. site. “If the architecture is done right, it could be an anchor again.”

“I’m all for doing something with the property,” he said.

Rejuvenating downtown has always been on the minds of the City Council, Vaccaro said.

Building owner David Wayne Mayhew has agreed to work with the city to market the structure, the city staff report states.

The $6,300 is half of Mayhew’s cost for an architect’s design and marketing documents for rehabilitating the building.

“Successful reuse of the building will provide regional marketing for the city,” the report adds. “Executing the agreement will help to ensure that the building design, floor plan and tenant selection meet the city’s long-term economic development goals.”

Mayhew, when contacted Friday, would not comment on the matter.

The design allows for restaurants or retail in the 4,000-square-foot ground floor and expanding an upstairs 4,000 square feet for entertainment.

Bryan Briggs, senior economic development project manager for Fairfield, said the entertainment reference involves design rather than a specific use.

The City Council meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the council chamber at the Fairfield Civic Center, 1000 Webster St.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or [email protected]

Ryan McCarthy


Discussion | 8 comments

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  • CD BrooksMarch 01, 2014 - 6:32 am

    I'm all over downtown improvements but didn't dude get a million bucks? I recall there were issues with his insurance, but he did get half of what he expected. My first concern is why would Fairfield kick in anything? My biggest concern is the eventual renovation of downtown may include (I hope) complete destruction of existing street and sidewalk configuration. How would the new façade be affected at that point? Maybe the city should wait until they have a plan in place before spending this money, then be on on the hook for "contributing" to other businesses downtown as well.

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  • B. ThiemerMarch 01, 2014 - 9:09 am

    Why does this property owner get a subsidy? The property burned, and they got an insurance payout. If a homeowner had their property burn down, would they get an architectural subsidy? Do the residents of the Marigold fire area get subsidies?

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  • P.J.March 01, 2014 - 9:32 am

    Downtown Fairfield has had a "plan" in place for rejuvination for so many years that I can't even recall the 'exact' year that 3 or 4 blocks of Texas St. was shut down. People wanting to visit businesses had to actually park in the back. Does anyone remember that? What survived that's still there? Joe's Deli, Napadashery. Any others? Was it 1989 when on April 15th, the city broke ground for "a sight for dreaming", The Center for the Creative Arts. It was intended for, not only performances, but art shows, etc. Sorry. I cannot believe that Mr. Mayhew cannot afford to take care of whatever needs to be done to get this building returned to use. I don't think the city has any business getting involved unless there's a payback.

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  • Grumpy GusMarch 01, 2014 - 10:40 am

    NO NO NO! Not another penny of our money goes into this. Beyond the questionable deal to raise the insurance to 2mil and then the building catches fire a week later... Has there not already been a million dollar payout. The owner can afford his own $12,000 arch/marketing doc... But how does giving him $6,300 "ensure that the building design, floor plan and tenant selection meet the city’s long-term economic development goals" I assume the city already has a has a say in the design and use of the space, since I can't build shed in my backyard without the city having a say in it's design. What are we really not being told here? After all that has gone down with this owner, why is the city so quick to write checks to him. What are the deeper connections?

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  • B. ThiemerMarch 01, 2014 - 12:29 pm

    This is a good time to let your representatives know your thoughts on this expenditure. I'm beyond frustrated hearing how we have no money to fix potholes, but there's always magical money for random special projects like this.

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  • Mr. PracticalMarch 01, 2014 - 6:38 pm

    Gus, are you suggesting this was arson? There probably hasn't been anything paid out yet, other than loss of rents and payments to vendors for whatever cleanup and repairs were needed to secure the building. Typically, the insurance company issues the checks directly to vendors doing the work. If the building was encumbered, the lender would get their money before the policyholder. And even if he insured it for $10 million, they aren't going to pay more than the actual replacement cost. Even if he decided not to rebuild, most insurance companies will only cash out at 80 percent. Most insurance policies have a coinsurance clause that states if the building is insured for less than 80% of the replacement cost, the insured only receives the percentage of any loss equal to the percentage of insurance to actual replacement cost. In other words, If the building was insured for $1 million and the actual replacement cost at the time of loss was $2 million, he would only receive 50% of the amount of the loss. The exterior is still intact, so for example, if the total loss was $800,000, the insurance only pays out $400,000.

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  • Grumpy GusMarch 02, 2014 - 12:29 am

    Not in any way I am suggesting arson... Just the questionable "verbal agreement" to increase the insurance from 1mil to 2mil a few days before the fire. Maybe I was the only one to read about it. Maybe I dreamt it. "It is a landmark style building" really? It is a burned out shell of a building that long ago was a movie theater, that is now being rained into as I type this... It will probably end up being torn down (possibly at city expense) "Before the Jan. 25, 2013, fire, Pepperbelly’s was an anchor of downtown and provided regional name recognition that created revenue from outside Solano County" From what I saw, before the Jan 25 fire, PB's was a ex comedy club, that was on its way down. It was making the police blotter more than the entertainment section. What revenue from outside Solano County??? Please elaborate? The city has no business in show business... Even when we build something nice like the Cultural Arts Center and the Swim Center we somehow get the least out them...

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  • SobreakitdownformeMarch 01, 2014 - 11:20 pm

    Fairfield is our government, not a business partner and not a business investor. No way should they be legally able to do such funding. If so, I want $6500 to imrpove the facade of my home. I bring relatives and friends from different parts of the state too who will spend a few dollars in our city. Give me the money for the same reasons as Pepperbelly...........not!

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