Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Wisteria Building


In 1993, after having been in bakery business for 18 years, I dived headlong into the purchase of the commercial building where my bakery, “Favourites” was located. It was a no brainer, really. The building was for sale, my bakery was the flagship tenant, and took up almost all of the leasable space in the building at that time. Plus, I was anxious to embark on another kind of work since I felt that my baking career was nearing completion. As I have said to others along the way, 20 years in the bakery business is quite enough.

Finding the money to make such a purchase, though, was a bit more problematic than the decision to buy. But eventually, I was able to convince the building owners to allow me to buy it for zero down, which in a nutshell, is a perfect metaphor for the old adage, “ it never hurts to ask ”. One month, I was still a tenant, the next, the building’s owner, no down payment required. I will always be grateful to Jack and Diane Baker for their kindness and generosity as they turned the keys (and responsibility) of the building over to me.


I went to work right away, improving the building such that it would accomodate more tenants, and, over the last 14 years, I have spent many, many thousands of dollars, and many, many hours of plotting and planning and waiting for plans examiners to call my name. But I have loved it. Turning this old building, which was originally built in the 1920s, into a living, breathing commercial property has been rewarding. We will soon open for lease a fourth retail store on the property.


Last week, I signed a lease with Francisco Diaz, who will operate his fifth Cha! Cha! Cha! Mexican Taqueria in my former bakery space in “The Wisteria Building” a name I conjured up cuz, well, I planted 4 purple wisteria in 1993, around the building, and now, they look like they have been here forever. Francisco makes killer burritios, and other usual and not so usual Mex dishes. If you are in Portland, we are at 4727 NE Fremont, also known as Beaumont Village. Stop by for a Margarita!

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