It’s a mouth-wateringly lovely property. Nine plus acres smack in the middle of Moraga. Extant garden and groves. Historic California architecture. Fountain. It’s also one of the town’s best-kept secrets – and some among us would like to change that.
Town leaders have sought to maximize return on the property – trapped in a 1960s pre-ADA time warp – for years. Recent meetings to come up with alternative uses for the admittedly underused part-time marriage or Oktoberfest venue have been held and some in town have come up with creative, some might call them adventurous, ideas for possible future uses of the site along with changes to make it more available to the paying public.
As their charter, town leaders set forth the following driving principles:
- Think creatively with the entire 9.6 acre parcel
- Optimize the uses of the property and increase revenue opportunities
- Display an ability to work successfully with developers and investors
- Optimize the public-private partnership opportunities
- Exhibit an ability to create balance between a community center destination and income generating activities
- Retain the historical and architectural characteristics of the property even if some 39 structures are significantly remodeled or demolished
Two recent public work sessions attracted several dozen interested parties who sat through presentations about possible future uses for the Hacienda and who were charged with coming up with some of their own.
Possible future uses and suggested additions to the property put forth at one of the two public meetings on the topic included:
- community center with classes, hang-out spaces, meeting areas
- small bed and breakfast or boutique hotel
- community cafe
- expanded, more accessible Moraga road entrance
- cannabis dispensary – possibly tied to edible garden concept
- expanded, improved kitchen for rent by chefs-classes
- educational/recreational classes
- spa and swimming pool
- small conference center
- art center
NEWS24-680 found some of the suggestions a little – grandiose – and some of them pretty forward-thinking for little Moraga. Neighbors of the property expressed concern with the potential for increased noise and traffic expanded use could bring – particularly as some past weddings and other social gatherings have drawn complaints about noise and expanded for-profit operations would almost certainly clash with the neighborhood ideal.
But as the town is obviously attempting to tie the property in to its future vision of its downtown and link it to planned bike and walking trails envisioned for the area we thought they should be mentioned and put out there for you all to consider.
Any thoughts? The Moraga Town Council is scheduled to address initial conceptual plans for the property at its meeting Wednesday night.