News Stories

Monday, April 14, 2014

By Jeff Quackenbush, Business Journal Staff Reporter

Plans for wine museum take shape

Organizers for a planned 15,000-square-foot wine museum are busily reaching out to potential wine industry supporters as demolition work gets started to convert its future home downtown into a five-story office building.

In the next three months, boosters intend to present the vision for what’s currently called the California Wine Museum (, according to Lindsay Austin, a wine microcrush club operator and chairman of the nonprofit behind the venture.

“Wine consumers are thirsting for knowledge and want to learn about wine, so our goal is to quench that by creating a venue like a blending of the Academy of Sciences and The Exploratorium,” Mr. Austin said.

The goal is to leave visitors with a higher appreciation for the history, artistry, science, technology and advances in sustainability of growing grapes and making wine.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Posted by ahutchinson | one response

Museum on the Square – a peek at the design

At last, Wine Country will have a wine museum. Under construction now in the former AT & T building on Third St., the California Wine Museum, comprising 4,500 wine-related artifacts from a privately-owned collection assembled by collector and antique dealer Jim McCormick, is due to be completed by early 2015.

The Museum on the Square project originally envisioned as a 10-story building with residences on the upper floors. The idea, according to Don Tomasi, principal designer at TLCD Architecture, was that the residences would make the project more financially viable. The opposite, however, was the case. The design was scaled back to five stories, with TLCD occupying the third floor, Luther Burbank Savings taking the fourth and fifth floors and a restaurant opening on street level. The California Wine Museum will be in the sub-level, lending a wine cellar feel. The interior design of the museum, said Tomasi, is in its early stages.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014


Santa Rosa’s AT&T building being revamped for new tenants (w/video)

Demolition began this week on the former AT&T building in Santa Rosa, the first step in a long-awaited effort to redevelop the vacant downtown eyesore into a glass-clad office building.

About 14 workers from Richmond-based demolition firm C. Hammond Construction began gutting the interior of the windowless, fortress-like structure, long considered a blight on the downtown.


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Monday, March 17, 2014

Jeff Quackenbush, Business Journal Staff Reporter

Large Santa Rosa office projects to begin

Major renovation of the former AT&T telephone switching building in downtown Santa Rosa and American AgCredit’s 120,000-square-foot new headquarters north of the city are poised to move to construction in the next month.

Together, they are set to transform the entryways to the heart of Santa Rosa and to the business parks adjacent to Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport.

Redevelopment of the vacant five-story AT&T building into a modern office building has been an economic development goal for years and in the works in fits and starts since the former city redevelopment agency bought it in 2007.

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Kevin McCallum- The Press Democrat

Work to start soon on Museum on the Square in Santa Rosa

Construction is to begin soon on the long-delayed Museum on the Square project, which even in its scaled-back form is expected to stimulate revitalization of downtown Santa Rosa.

City building officials issued a permit last week for the project, which promises to transform the vacant former AT&T building into a glass-clad office building and wine museum.

Developer Hugh Futrell signed closing documents on his $11 million construction loan Friday afternoon and expects work on the interior of the building to begin this month, he said.

“My partners and I are extremely excited about the project, more so than ever,” Futrell said. “We think it will be transformative, and we know our tenants agree.”

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Kevin McCallum- The Press Democrat

Santa Rosa council signs off on Museum on the Square revision

The Santa Rosa City Council unanimously approved the latest redesign of the Museum on the Square project with little discussion Tuesday.

The latest design for the vacant former AT&T building many consider an eyesore won't include as much glass on the exterior but will retain the same basic structure of four stories of office space built above a first-story museum and restaurant space.

It was going to cost developer Hugh Futrell about $1.2 million to construct the shear walls that would have allowed the construction of the exterior curtain of glass.

That cost plus delays created by the high demand for window glazing in the red-hot Bay Area housing market threatened to delay the project further and jeopardize the tenancy of Luther Burbank Savings, Futrell said.

The project was scaled back from 10 stories to five after the tight financing market and demise of the redevelopment agency threatened the project, which has been one of the highest-profile development plans downtown for years.

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Kevin McCallum- The Press Democrat

Plans for Santa Rosa’s Museum on the Square revised again

The Museum on the Square is getting yet another make-over, this time a scaling back of a glass facade that is proving too pricey.

Developer Hugh Futrell on Tuesday will ask the Santa Rosa City Council to sign off on a new design for the vacant former AT&T building, slated as the future home of Luther Burbank Savings.

The previous design called for the north side of the building to be covered in a curtain wall, a modern non-load-bearing wall of glass.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Former AT&T building in downtown Santa Rosa to feature wine museum

A 15,000-square-foot wine museum will be included in a renovation of the former AT&T building in downtown Santa Rosa, a long-awaited project that is now expected to start work in about two months.

The proposed California Wine Discovery Museum, occupying the building's lower level, would portray the past, present and future of California wine making and would include wine tasting, said Lindsay Austin, a tech entrepreneur who is heading the nonprofit museum's board.

“It's a big mission,” Austin said, and it depends on raising $2.5 million to acquire the exhibits and build the museum.

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