Old Town Auburn Redevelopment and Renovation


Last update 11/01/2010



-         Preserve the historical spirit,  feel, and ambience of OTA

-         Renew, renovate and repair as needed OTA

-         Transform OTA to attract more visitors and commerce

-         Have various short and long-term goals: 3 month, 6 months, 1 yr, 2 yr, 5 yrs and 10 year.

-         These goals and objectives will be dynamic and constantly updated, as projects move from one time frame to the next, and as priorities or funds change.

-         Put these goals online so they can be regularly reviewed. And if possible create a blog-like system for merchant discussion on projects



A.   Review signage requirement, make it uniform and reinforce compliance (Banners, neon signs, etc.) - other business could benefit with signs like Auburn Ale House. (2)

B.    Add clear signage indicating how to walk from jury lot to Old Town.

C.   Renovate or cleanup Lawyers Row Building. At the top of Commercial Street, there is a dilapidated empty old brick building that sits between the Med Museum and the Native Sons Building just across the alley. This is a strategic place since its one of the first buildings seen when visitors come over the freeway bridge. Add a large vintage “Welcome to Old Town Sign”, or “Old Town This Way à” on the side. Building should be strategically lit at night, with landscape bushes on the small piece of dirt in front.

D.   Replace all OT corner street signs with historic/“vintage” signs

E.    Archway/sign across the street at the end of the Cafe D that says “Old Town Auburn”

F.    More Signage for parking.

G.   Better Accent lighting in a few places in OT. Consult with lighting specialist.

H.   Get new bunting on buildings.

I.       Vintage/retro street lights on every corner, or maybe design street lights and vintage street signs (mentioned above) to be same pole(s)



A.   Re-landscape park next to bathrooms - make it inviting

B.    Trim Giant Pine tree so firehouse is more visible from freeway

C.   Fire House painting and renovation (4)

D.   Have lights INSIDE the Fire House on timer to turn on at dusk so vintage fire engine is highlighted and attractive as people come down Commercial Street.

E.    Get Firehouse Clock Chime working again

F.    Get lighting specialist to design new and better lighting for Firehouse.




A.   OT and City should buy Hayes parking lot and develop it into a center of town concept (like Downtown) which would be open to all events and public seating. (6)



A.  Continue to fight for employee parking on Brewery Street and develop that strip into a nice park and walking path. (3)



A.   Shed by Tio Pepes. Mural or landscaping or art or anything to camouflage it or transform it into looking like a vintage building. (2)

B.    Get rid of the tin shack on Procissi’s parking lot. More parking spaces.(2)

C.   Reseal/Repave  Parking Lot by Tin Building(2)

D.   Re-do/Re-Pave Parking Lot by Tio Pepe’s (2)

E.    Beautify Procissi Lot to blend more with Chana miners park and statue. Things such as trees, shrubs, landscaping, lighting, re-pave, retaining wall, etc



A.   Consider ways to make OT “RV Friendly”. And how to attract RV’rs, and possibly allow RV's to park in Jury parking lot

B.    Enlarge the upper lot behind Bootleggers by purchasing the small strip of land (below the Norm Hill lot), along the entrance road that goes from white cottages to the lot. (3)

C.   Think of new ways to expand parking opportunities



A.   Increase Post Office service to include "visitors center" services

B.    Town Square on the end of the post office building

C.   Renovate Post Office. Repair that end of building as needed.  (2)

D.   Also redo façade on Post Office (and Café D building) to make it truly look like the oldest Post Office in the West. With maybe weathered looking old barn wood? Or used brick? or at least tongue and groove boards like Ale House and OT Art Gallery.

E.    Add vintage Wanted Posters and other old photos in Post Office




A.   Add a Victorian Dress Contest to Country Christmas (Prizes from merchants – gift certificates best).

B.    Create a Peach Festival with prizes for best Peach Pie, cobbler, ice cream, pudding, etc.  (There is any number of food festivals throughout the summer. They must work).

C.   Advertising campaign for the Sacramento Bee. Old Town and maybe downtown to share cost of staycation page promoting our area. Maybe share cost with merchant participation monthly through the Holiday Season.

D.   Calendar of Events in ALL Gold Country publications.

E.    More attractive hand-outs for our area. Color on front of the tri-fold. Mare sure these get everywhere!!! Hotels, restaurants, etc.

F.    Put more OTBA in the Shop Local campaign. Share cost with advertising, perhaps even merchant “shared cost”.

G.   Can we or the city do anything to encourage tour buses to stop here? (Parking area by restrooms)




A.   Purchase white cottages and bungalows on Park Street (by Claude Chana Statue). Turn into quaint “retro” motel/bungalows. OT and Auburn in general is in dire need of lodging. This could be pursued as a private venture, by seeking businessperson to invest in and develop it  that way.  (Also addressed as part of Victorian Hill Redevelopment section) (2)


B.    Pursue getting artisans and hand craftsman to set up their workshops and studios in OT. We should try to attract such artisans like glass blowers, wood workers, metal workers, ceramic potters, leather workers, vintage sign makers.  Suggest maybe a “Craftsman Row” or “Craftsman Alley”. Several areas possible: Sacramento Street has an empty  3000 sf Retail Space, also there’s an “alley” behind OT Art Gallery, where maybe tiny booths or shops could be built fairly inexpensively, then rented out fairly inexpensively. Also behind Serendipity/Als Place/Gypsy Wind/Back Country, there’s some areas that maybe we could secure and develop with small shops or booths also.   The entrance would be a walkway thru the alley, between these buildings. Hence “Craftsmans Row or Artisan’s Alley”. And a final location option is the white cottages and bungalows next to the Procissi lot and next to the Chana statue. These possibly could be turned into working Artisan Shops.  (This is also mentioned in Victorian Hill Redevelopment section)


C.   Pedestrian-friendly Cobblestone walkways/crosswalks: Have this done  at key places eg Post Office to Tsudas, Mary Belles to Café D, Post Office to Carpe Vino, Firehouse to Bootleggers, etc . (All OT streets if possible.)


D.   Redo boardwalk of Café D building. Keep old wood look.


E.    Add a few more faded, vintage murals on sides of brick building in OT similar to the one the Phenomenon crew did on the Gypsy Winds wall. There are 5 or 6 large blank walls in OT that could use a splash of quaintness. Give visitors the feeling they stepped back in time.


F.    Add flower baskets to OT. Recent vote on this got nixed, mostly for cost, but this should eventually be done. Colorful flowers add a wonderful appeal to tourists.


G.   We need a Bicycle Shop in town. We are Endurance Capital of World. We want to attract Amgen. And we don’t have a bike shop. We should seek a Bike Merchant from another location in California to relocate to OT. Help them anyway we can to get started. A good location might be the long-vacant yellow building just above OT Dessert Building across from Joss House. As a side note on that location, bicyclists would be one of the few retail clientele not bothered by the very steep walk up Sacramento Street.


H.   Consider having our own OT shuttle of some kind. Nothing super expensive. Something like an open sided electric “golf cart type” vehicle , say that seats 8, that could get patrons around town when the streets are closed, and other times. Electric or hybrid is possible.


I.       Cleanup and re-paint white Map kiosk at entrance Law Library. Get lights replaced and working.


J.      Develop a list of desirable new tenants/trades/merchandise for OT. Work with city planning/permit/licensing and property owners to enhance Old Town’s profile (2).

Some suggestions:

- Bike Shop

- Vintage Signage Shop

- Tea Room

- Vintage trades/arts shop (eg blacksmithing, glassblowing, woodworking, pottery-making)

- Bed and Breakfast

- Retro Motel or Cottages for overnight accommodations (2)

- Event Center or Hall (2)

- Small Wedding Chapel


K.   Visitors Center – either have our own OT Visitors Center, or seek having a satellite office of the Placer County Visitor Center somewhere in OT.


L.    Some business owners need to paint their buildings and repair signs that are falling apart.


M.  Finish the system for music at the Post Office building.  


N.   Expand music at some point to add outdoor music throughout other areas of town. Maybe consider interspersing occasional marketing blurbs with music. (eg ”Did you know Amgen is coming to OT?”, “Don’t miss next week’s Taste of Chocolate”, “Don’t forget tomorrow is $5 pizza day at OT Pizza”, etc)


O.   Sidewalk work. Clean-up, add railings, (to prevent falls). Work with landlords and city.(2)


P.    Add more benches and or tables for “weary” shoppers, especially HY Park.


Q.   Increase amount of landscaping in town


R.   Railings needed at various hazardous places, esp in front of Tea Thyme block, and all along Commercial Street


S.    Establish a regular power washing schedule for sidewalks


T.    Retain design consultant to do one-time review of exterior of each OT building and make recommendations on how to spruce up, fix, improve, create ambience, or modify to ensure more historical character.





      A.          Victorian Hill Redevelopment and Expansion: These items below refer to a proposed development on the Victorian Hill behind Bootleggers/Tio Pepe’s that will greatly expand Old Town itself, sweeping up and even over the hill, and complement Old Town circa late 1800’s Pioneer architecture.

a.      Two story parking lot with an outside glass elevator for view. (3)

b.     Event/Convention Center (2)

c.     Hotel/Restaurant

d.     Outdoor Beer Garden. Maybe with gazebo/pavilion/tent for colder months.

e.      Village concept retail/café shops bottom floor (living quarters upstairs) winding up the hill on new roadway.

f.       Acquire the white cottages along Park Street. (Julin Carmassy (sp) offered to sell these to the city several years ago for parking – City did not take him up on this. There were 3 separate suggestions for use.

                                                              i.      Create a small retro motel or quaint cottages

                                                            ii.      Create artisan/craftsman workshops with items for sale as suggested elsewhere

                                                          iii.      More retail spaces

** Note: Bob Snyder has fairly detailed plot plans covering most of these above details. This Victorian Hill Redevelopment Plan was created by private businessmen and city personnel years ago before the economy slipped. Many items on this list are addressed in those plans.


B.      Expand OT up Sacramento St. and up Brewery Lane.


C.      Create OTAPS miniature village as described by Ross Carpenter



Still to be added after clarification.



1.     Determined if a walk way could be constructed between Centennial Park and Sacramento Street.


           8. New pathway & bridge from lower center lot through Tea Thyme's alley to connect upper OT to Center parking lot.


6.  Handicap access to Shaw building area



Billboard on Hwy.80


Historical representation on a regular basis