Past President Gary Howard introduced the main speaker, Craig Semmelmeyer, developer of the Castro Valley Marketplace.  Craig is a one of the newer members of the Rotary Club of Castro Valley.  During his presentation, Craig showed many photographs of old Daughtrey's Building illustrating the state it had been in for many years and how the building has now been renovated into the Castro Valley Marketplace.  The old building contained a beloved business that had many loyal customers and staff.  Sadly, more recently, most people had seen the building as an eyesore on Castro Valley Blvd.  Craig said that he looked at the site for 15 minutes and understood its potential, but it took three years to realize that potential.
Craig's idea was to build a stage for the merchants to be the stars.  As the developer, Craig used the basic structure of the building, but allowed the merchants to arrange their own space. In this plan, customers are dealing directly with the business owner or an employee who interacts every day with the owner.  Opening during COVID pandemic was a challenge for the Marketplace, but the essential businesses are open now and the current plan is to seek out non-essential businesses that will add value to the community.  Craig’s own development company will open the Nite Owl, a craft cocktail lounge, on the mezzanine level soon  Future shops will include a coffee business, a dessert bar, and, hopefully, a flower shop.
A new venture that Craig has undertaken is the renovation of a Quonset hut building at the corner of Wilbeam Avenue and Castro Valley Blvd.  Many years ago, the site was a gas station and car showroom. Craig and partner Ken Carbone intend to return the site to its original design.   The building will include a BBQ restaurant, another restaurant, and a retail business with a great deal of outdoor seating.  The site should be ready in the first quarter of 2022.
At the other end of Castro Valley Blvd at the lumberyard, they intend to establish an outdoor market using the existing buildings, which will include home and garden stores. The current metal siding will be replaced by redwood siding. The first businesses of a 5-10-year development plan should open in March-April 2022.
Craig noted that he is particular about the tenant businesses because the right business can bring in other top-quality businesses. He further noted that It’s about having faith in one's properties rather than just leasing sited to just anyone. His goals to for Castro Valley to be “a place to go rather than a place to drive through.”