COARSEGOLD – Gabby the Miner is a silent wooden sentry kneeling at the entrance to the Broken Bit, holding his precious nugget to the sky and keeping an eye on Highway 41 traffic.
He’s seen the once-promising business nestled on the property flourish under the guidance of previous owners, and Gabby has seen it fail with seemingly insurmountable building requirements and the pressure of recession.
Now, if Gabby could take a step, there’d be a spring in it, because the Broken Bit has been sold and Gabby’s home is getting a makeover.
Escrow closed on Jan. 7, as the bank-owned property was transferred from Pacifica First in Culver City to a Fresno-based real estate developer named Kevin Tweed. Tweed and his son Tanner run Pavilion Properties and specialize in shopping centers; Tanner will manage the Broken Bit property in Coarsegold, as well as the Victorian Square in Oakhurst, where Alice’s Cookhouse is located. Escrow closed on that property on Wednesday, Jan. 14.
Tanner Tweed explained what’s in store for the Broken Bit, a beautiful piece of land with oak-covered hills, an historic mine, and tons of potential that has languished for several years in an ever-deteriorating state of partial-completion.
“The first thing that we want to do is to preserve the integrity of the property,” says Tweed, a graduate of Clovis West who lives in Fresno with his wife, Jane. “We want to clean it up, take care of the landscaping, get rid of the weeds, remove trash, and finish the siding on the building. We want to preserve anything we can.”
The new owners have plans to meet with Madera County to figure out what needs to be done to make the location viable for business. Most people who drive that stretch of highway where Gabby stands know that whenever the subject of the Broken Bit comes up, so does the idea of widening the roads.
“We have heard they need to be widened but haven’t talked to anybody yet,” Tweed reports. “We are willing to work with Caltrans and the County with anything they propose.”
Tweed says they also want to hear from the public regarding the future of the Broken Bit. “The bottom line is we want the property to benefit the community, and not be a distraction.”
Pavilion Properties is about halfway through development on a shopping center in Clovis located at Temperance and Highway 168, where a McDonald’s and Starbucks will soon be joined by Clovis Hofbrau. Kevin Tweed purchased that property as a vacant field about 15 years ago, and has been in the real estate development business for 30 years.
The Tweeds are familiar with the hospitality industry, as they also own Shaver Lake Village Hotel, a small, charming property the family purchased more than two years ago at Shaver Lake.
The plan for Coarsegold and Oakhurst is similar to what they carried out at Shaver Lake: go in, make friends, get involved. Tanner ran the hotel, joined the Chamber of Commerce, met other business owners and remains connected to the success of not just the property Pavilion owns, but the well-being of the surrounding area as well.
The same goes now, for Coarsegold and Oakhurst.
“We want to meet with as many people as possible and personally, I will be spending a lot of time in the foothills and want to hear ideas from the community. We want to work with as many people as we can and figure out what is the best use for the Broken Bit property.”
The Broken Bit was sold last week for an exchange of property plus $325,000 cash, for a total value of somewhere over $500,000.
Photographs by Virginia Lazar. Click on images to enlarge.