OAKHURST – Recent activity at the historic Mountain House has been underway for about a month and many are curious about what’s going on with this beloved landmark.
General contractor Steve Gabbard, owner of Oakhurst-based Sun Construction, spoke with Sierra News Online (SNO) and was happy to share that construction and restoration of the Mountain House is back underway after a nearly three year break.
In 2009 the doors closed to the popular restaurant, which sits at the corner of Highway 41 and Bass Lake Road 222, as just one more heartbreaking loss to this community due to a bad economy.
The Mountain House sat vacant and on the market for three years before developer Harold Rothman purchased the property. Rothman, a resident of Manhattan Beach, Calif., also maintains a home on Bass Lake and has been coming to the area for about 20 years.
Back in 2012, Rothman told SNO that there were water and sewer issues, leach field problems, cosmetic and design elements and new plumbing and electrical needed also.
With work on the property back underway, Gabbard explains some of the challenges of the renovation, including the fact that over half of the building had no foundation and the floor was like walking on the ocean – a real roller coaster.
In a previous interview with SNO, Sun Construction employee Daniel Baggs shared that the south portion of the building was set on pier blocks, and the boards from the piers had degraded, allowing the building to sag.
Today, Steve Gabbard feels confident and excited about where they are in the restoration process.
He says they have also excavated new and better handicap access. There will be new windows throughout and some very attractive, fireproof concrete half-log siding.
“The old girl will be getting a new roof of imitation slate, some stone veneer and new doors.”
Mr. Gabbard has preformed other work for Mountain House owner Harold Rothman, and when he originally took on this project he told Rothman that the necessary repairs and upgrades involved would be extensive. At that time there was also a potential lessee. However, once the volume of repair and restoration was determined, it proved financially prohibitive to move forward at that time, so the project was temporarily put on hold – until now!
Rothman and his partners, the Yosemite Forks Hospitality Group, will not be running the restaurant themselves. They are restaurant property owners who seek out good properties – unique and older historic buildings – bring them up to standards, and then lease them out. Everyone involved is excited about the future for the Mountain House.
“There are some really good people working on this project and a lot of harmony here,” says Mr. Gabbard.
We can expect the restoration to be complete by May when the property will once again entertain options for a lease, though the nature of the business that goes in is still an open question.
“Everybody wants to see it as a restaurant, but that’s to be seen depending on the lease,” says Gabbard, who is very proud of the work they’re doing to restore the Mountain House to its former glory.
“When we are done this is going to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the area!”