7×7 magazine has done just that with a story on the Mill Valley Lumber Yard, a look at the property’s historic past, vital present and hugely promising future. The piece charts the tourney of Matt and Jan Mathews, who bought the property in 2012 from the Cerri family, which had owned and maintained it as a lumber yard and True Value hardware store for the previous 14 years. The property was built by lumber magnate Robert Dollar in 1892 as Dollar Lumber Company.
The Mathews family initially sought to find “other lumber and hardware businesses to see if they wanted to expand and take over the space, but sadly no one had the bandwidth to do so.” They eventually connected with Restoration Hardware founder Stephen Gordon, who also had “a strong vision for what MVLY should become in its second life. They all agreed that they wanted to support an authentic American downtown experience by incorporating businesses that would offer only the highest quality specialty goods made by local artists and creators.”
Gordon’s Guideboat, Molly de Vries’ Ambatalia and Gayle Nicoletti’s Bloomingayles have been fixtures at MVLY ever since, bringing an eclectic mix of unique businesses whose aesthetic fits perfectly onto the property.
And four years after the Mathews’ bought MVLY, they’re racing to implement the changes that garnered the unanimous approval of the City Council in July. The Mill Valley Lumber Yard is a 42,500-square-foot site at 129 Miller Avenue with 17,616 square feet of existing building space.
The Mathews previously renovated some of the buildings and plan to upgrade others. Those buildings are primarily at the southeast half of the property and include a proposed small cafe/restaurant, as well as some retail, offices and an artist-in-residence space, in addition to what’s there now.