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An Update from the Galley Restaurant
Jun 17, 2022
By the Galley Team
Dear Galley Friends,
Many of you have reached out to our team, inquiring as to updates on our project. Suffice to say, we continue to work with the intention to bring The Galley back to life and share it with you all.

As time has passed, it should come as no surprise that the road forward has not been completely smooth and without its challenges. As many of you know, work began in earnest prior COVID and, like for so many, the pandemic forced us to pause, contemplate and recalibrate just about everything we were doing. During this time, our team took the opportunity to thoughtfully reconsider the original plans and redesign the layout in a way that would be better suited for a post COVID gathering space. Additionally, the redesign was also intended to facilitate a more economical, and less structurally ambitious approach than first pursued.

Our original intention was simply to modify the structure in minimal ways and retain as much of the original materials, character, and layout as possible. It was our hope to restore the bar to its original location on the north side of the building and return the restaurant to the south side within closer proximity of the kitchen. We also had hoped to create a casual and comfortable outdoor seating area.

As we peeled the layers of the structure further back, we discovered conditions which were unsafe, not to mention unhealthy. We had no choice but to address how to remedy these concerns. In advance of furthering the work on the building, we sought advice from our general contractors as well as the County Building Department. Unfortunately, as time passed, the lens through which our project was originally viewed by county building officials changed. Aspects of the project we understood and expected to be "grandfathered", ended up not being so. This has translated into progress becoming painfully slow, time consuming and cost challenging. Additionally, changing economic conditions, modified building code policies, and staffing changes at the county level have certainly not eased our pathway forward.

As an example, a recent hurdle we face today relates to fire suppression. When our project was first reviewed, we were advised that the structure would not require a sprinkler system and that by installing fire-rated separation materials we could achieve the compliance we needed to maintain the desired occupancy. We designed around this understanding. Unfortunately, the interpretation of this matter changed (more than once in fact) and we were informed that our current design would require a professionally engineered commercial grade sprinkler system that could, in the event of a fire, adequately provide suppression to the entire structure. We were also informed that permits for our project could not be issued until this plan was included in our set of building documents and reviewed.

Like so many things we have faced along the way with our project, this requirement which sounds straightforward, is a far more complicated matter than meets the eye. The Galley does not have a sufficient water source to feed any type of commercial grade sprinkler system and City water is not an option because it does not extend to the property. Needless to say, we have been spending a significant amount of time evaluating if there is a reasonable and affordable solution to this problem. And while we have landed on self-contained pressurized holding tanks as being our remaining option, we do not yet have a good understanding of what the structural, design and financial implications of this might be. We are hoping this is not an impassable roadblock to our vision and simply just another hurdle that can be overcome.

It is also worth noting that we were presented one alternative to the sprinkler requirement. Because fire suppression requirements are often driven by occupancy, we were advised that if we were willing to consider bolting our seating and tables to the floor, we could potentially avoid having to install a system of this magnitude. The idea is that with fixed seating, occupancy is inherently controlled and limited. Unfortunately, this is not an option for us. Fixed tables and seating would perpetually limit the use of the space and would make it nearly impossible to have any flexibility for things like live music, private functions, community meetings, events, and gatherings. We also believe strongly that the future of establishments such as ours (particularly as we emerge from COVID) need to be spaces that are nimble and convertible. This scenario would eliminate that possibility.

Please know that we - along with the team from JAS Design and Build - are trying to remain as optimistic as possible as we navigate our way through the multitude of challenges that are before us. And while there physically may appear to be very little activity on the site, we can assure you that a week does not go by that we are not working sensibly and creatively to find a way to get some wind in our sails that will enable us to bring The Galley back to life.

Most Sincerely,
The Galley Team