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New Owners See Bright Future For Broken Bit

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.

Broken Bit photo January 2015 by Virginia Lazar

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.

Broken Bit view from road looking north on hwy 41 photo 2015 by Virginia Lazar“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.

Broken Bit speed limit sign photo January 2015 by Virginia Lazar“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.

Broken Bit sign photo January 2015 by Virginia LazarThe 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.

Broken Bit Gabby the Miner vertical wide photo January 2015 by Virginia LazarThe 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.

10 comments

  1. Some type of entertainment would be nice! Bring back a bowling alley (somehow)!!!

  2. Don’t we have enough shops along 41 that struggle to survive? If I owned it, I’d make it into a bar with live music and dancing.

  3. It doesn’t sound right that anybody who went ahead and purchased a property like that would have not checked with the county and/or state first, or had a clear idea of what to do with it. But I always loved that place (especially the paranormal investigations) so I do wish the new owners the best of luck and success. I hope it becomes a restaurant again.

  4. A skating Rink would be so fun. I would go all the time. Winter and summer!

  5. Patrick Poplarchick

    yeah i lived 1 mile north right on gabbys corner serpa canyon road for 35 years i worked at the broken bit when dan landon owned it and so did my sister and my mother. .it was a beautiful friendly place back then, we had done a lot of local business dinners such as the reality brokers dinners and wedding. packing in over 1000 people a day. i cried evry time i drove by to see it left in that cond. hope you do something with it soon and good luck. Patrick Poplarchick

  6. The writer got some facts wrong. Gabby never oversaw the property flourish, he was added sometime in the 2000’s by a new owner, as a likeness of the man who did the gold panning operation up the road at what is now Dr. Dahlem’s chiropractic office. The Broken Bit has been closed since before we moved there in early 1993 and has never reopened. I wish the new owners the best of luck and hope the county can cut them a break with their regulations that broke others in the past!

    I agree it could be a great place for dining and dancing! I heard that there used to be large venue concerts held there and it was a great place. I have always hoped it would reopen!

  7. There is a restaurant chain in SoCal called “WoodRanch” that was so popular you always had to wait for seating. Excellent pork AND beef ribs, stuffed baked potatoes, etc. Would love to see something with that quality of food up here and a live band and dancing would be icing on the cake. Good luck!

  8. Looking for work.Constrution;or clean up crew.11yrs at Chuckchansi.Ase a Lead janitor.559 6452488

  9. I think a family fun center would be awesome. I’ve heard there’s already a spot for an indoor pool! I would go there every day.

  10. Kim Poplarchick Laminen

    That place holds some Great memories. The menu consisted of “What the help eats” “Tortoise Soup” Their Dinners were served “Family Style”. Large Banquets were held downstairs (Covered indoor pool). Tourism was strong back in the late 70’s and as a bus person, tips were great. I loved most of the people I worked with. I wasn’t real fond of the owner/manager’s business practices, but I learned after working at several other places, like Skyline, Ducy’s etc, that business is business and all that really matters is the bottom line. It is nice to read that this company is interested in working with the community for its benefit as well.

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