Old Restaurant Site Leveled by Demolition Crew

Here's a video of a 16-ton excavator chewing up the Mills Restaurant building on Redwood Boulevard in downtown Novato.

The building went down as smoothly as the greasy omelettes that slid down your throat within those walls.

On Thursday morning a demolition crew chewed up and spat out the old restaurant that stood at 7330 Redwood Blvd. in downtown Novato — one that started life as a Denny's in the mid-1960s and ended life as Mills Restaurant last year.

A crew of four men, overseen by Novato-based Rempe Construction, started biting into the exterior of the Mills building at about 7:20 a.m. Thursday and expected to be finished in the early afternoon, according to Steve Rempe.

A retail complex will be constructed there, designed by the San Rafael architectural firm that drew up the new complex going up just a few feet to the north at 999 Grant Ave. That structure will be the home of Circle Bank, a restaurant and several other businesses.

Lynda Quartly May 24, 2012 at 07:14 PM
It is very sad to sse Mills come down. I was a great palce for Seniors to eat. Of course Novato doesn't like anything that gets in the way of them making money. The Mission Motel is the real "eye sore" in Novato and for some reason the city can't find a way to take it down......
SamS May 24, 2012 at 07:58 PM
The city has no right to take it down. Basic property rights laws there. Someone owns the Mission Lodge and they have to take action. Do you really want a city council that tears down buildings that are privately owned, just because they don't look good? That criteria could apply to hundreds of building around the City. Don't place blame on an entity (the city) when it is not their issue to handle. Oh, and by the way, the owner of the Mission Lodge will be submitting a plan to demolish the Lodge and replace it with a new building. Good time for you to go down to the Council meeting and SUPPORT the City (and the project) when it comes up for a vote.... that would be doing something positive - and not blaming the wrong folks for the problem
Worry May 24, 2012 at 08:00 PM
two thumbs up to sam's comment
Christian Hansen May 24, 2012 at 08:08 PM
The building was ugly and needed to come down. But I wonder why so many other buildings in this part of Novato have been razed and replaced as well? For example, the old Starbucks building and the future Circle Bank building. Is it necessary (or actually more cost effective?) to just knock buildings over and start from scratch these days?
Bob Ratto May 24, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Christian, A simple answer would be yes, because it can be very expensive to get old buildings to code, and interest rates are very low, so one can often build more cheaply "from scratch". With the new City Hall, things such as prudent fiscal management are of very limited importance, so cost does not "really" matter.
Bob Ratto May 24, 2012 at 09:22 PM
NC Maybe the City can host a "brick sale" for the remaining 5,868 bricks, and if we could get just over $79.24 per brick, we can pay for the new $465k signage program-every bit will help! If every single resident would just buy 4-$100 bricks, we could cover the cost of the new City Hall, and we could save all that bond interest too...
Brent Ainsworth (Editor) May 24, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Great to have your input, Christian. Lots of buildings getting knocked down are at least 50 years old. They should be sturdy enough to stand on their own for a long time, but very few companies/businesses want to move into a building that old because of wiring issues and retrofits. The old Pini building is a good example of a building that needs a lot of work before anybody could move in.
Brent Ainsworth (Editor) May 24, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Yeah, but did you enjoy the video?
Bob Ratto May 24, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Oh, I apologize, very much so, you did a great job on it, just like everything else.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr May 25, 2012 at 03:30 PM
I will miss Mill's. I miss the old Denny's. Not only were they gathering places for seniors, they were a public forum where Novato residents sat and ate, and discussed politics. Before 1972, the old Denny's was the first restaurant on US-101 north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Carole Bennett May 25, 2012 at 04:02 PM
I remember the sweet couple who leased that building and started their French restaurant. It was an excellent restaurant. I can recall her asking me in her delightful French accent, "What is this 'Denny's'? Why does everyone come in here asking if this is Denny's?" She did not realize that the architecture of the building would be frozen in people's minds as a less expensive place to eat and would never project the image she needed. Architecture with a heavily branded image will always have this problem. I think planning departments today are more aware of the the negative long term impact of buildings with such a specific brand. I am not sorry to see the building come down. I just hope we can learn by such building mistakes.
Eleanor Sluis May 25, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Brent, thanks for the photos of a machine at work. The World of Work is one of the sections of a social science study unit for the second or third grade students. I hope that teachers will use this video as a presentation of our changing world.
josh harris May 25, 2012 at 08:00 PM
I find it a bit sad that both the bank building and this restaurant had to be demolished, rather than dismantled...couldn't any of the structure or equipment been salvaged?...very likely it didn't make economic sense....but It still seems wasteful to me...
Daryle Taylor June 03, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Great job on the video Brent, I wanted to see the demo but missed it. This sure made up for it. Mr Harris, The building was gutted before it came down an I am sure some of the interior fixtures were salvaged. Also with new construction standards all the materials from the demo are sorted and sent to facilities for recycling and turned into new materials. Land fills are limited to most of these materials. I am excited for the new growth that is happening in our town. Construction has hit hard in the recent economy, these projects will aid in a comeback!
David Randolph July 18, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Good riddance for an ugly old building. Too bad the Shell station still stands nearby. It's one of the uglier stations anywhere around. And it's also unfortunate that the old church building wasn't imploded instead of being moved and rebuilt as the city hall—think of the money the city would have saved on that overblown project—kinda like the money they are going to blow on the city offices they just broke ground on.


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