The kitchen equipment has been removed from the historic Red Cedar Inn, leaving only empty space. Renovation has begun in the dining room and tiles stacked on the large sloped roof indicate that a new roof will be installed soon.
Jim Smith, who is part owner of the building, is turning the Route 66 icon into the Historic Red Cedar Business Center.
Smith, a real estate agent, will move his office to the building. Other tenants will soon join him.
He says changing the primary use of the building will not alter the original appearance of the structure. Only the empty kitchen area will be changed.
“I can tell you that the integrity of the interior of the building will be maintained,” Smith said. “The bar will remain exactly as it is and will be used as a break room.”
Smith’s great-grandfather and his brother built the familiar redwood structure, with logs cut on the family farm, as a stopping place on the new Highway 66, which opened in 1935. It was a fine dining room for more than 70 years, serving a series of athletes and other celebrities. The restaurant closed in 2007.
Ginger Gallagher, Smith’s sister and part owner of the building, was the last restaurant operator in the structure.
Both the city of Pacific and the Pacific Partnership flirted with the idea of buying the historic building but those plans fell through.
“We reached a point where we had to do some renovations to the building,” Smith said. “We have some plans for the business center, but we’re not ready to reveal all of them yet.”