For nearly a year, Tony Tutto Pizza, the restaurant at 246 East Blithedale Ave. that has developed a cult following locally over the past eight years, has operated under a series of three-month lease options as land owner Worldco Company has worked to tweak its proposal to redevelop the more than 27,000-square-foot property on which it sits.

While Tutto hopes to land a long-term home for his show in the new development, he says the options have allowed him to continue onward despite the lack of clarity on what the future holds for him there. A long-term commitment from the property owners hasn’t materialized, as they seek to keep their options open while seeking City of Mill Valley approval for their proposed redevelopment of the property at 246-250 East Blithedale Avenue. 

He might get some clarity in the coming weeks.

Worldco’s project, which has been the subject of multiple study sessions before the Planning Commission and a design review hearing in March 2015 that concluded without a vote but with direction for its owners to go back to the drawing board, is on the Commission’s agenda for May 24. Its proposal calls for a remodel of the 9,331-square-foot space that contained Mill Valley Services, which went out of business in September 2014, and Summerhouse, which moved its warehouse to the former Cabana Home space in June 2015. It also calls for the demolition of the 863-square-foot space Tony Tutto Pizza occupies and an expansion of a restaurant space on the property to 1,365 square feet. Tutto is the lone remaining tenant on the property.

Worldco Principal Alvin Chan says WorldCo heard loud and clear from the neighbors and the larger community that more than one food-serving business, as previously proposed, was too much for the property. With just one food-serving business on the property, his firm must wait before committing to Tutto, or any other tenants, he says.

“We want to lock in the large tenant first,” Chan says. “But Tony will be on the short list of whomever is going to go into this project. It’s not just about who is going to pay the most rent.”

In 2015, WorldCo switched to Geiszler Architects, headed by former Planning Commission Chair Steve Geiszler, to redesign the project and shepherd it through the approval process.

“Through that process, we felt that we wanted to reset and bring someone on board who had a better sense of what the neighborhood would want,” Chan says.

Chan says he wants to assure neighbors and residents that Worldco has no plans to flip the property and typically buys land, redevelops it and holds onto them “for a very long time. Because of that, we appreciate mom and pop tenants,” Chan says.

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