Scoop: San Francisco entrepreneur confirms purchase of historic Stonehouse in Nevada City


Jonathan Rowe, founder and CEO of event venue The Village and video production company Madrone Studios in San Francisco, confirmed he closed escrow on the historic Stonehouse building in Nevada City, Sierra Foothills Report has learned.

“We did!” Jonathan responded in an email when I asked him on Tuesday if the deal had closed. Under the ebullient entrepreneur, the historic Stonehouse building is expected to be revitalized as a destination for culinary artistry, a tapas bar, visiting chefs, weddings and events, as previously reported. It is the latest example of a “fresh vibe” in Nevada City, which includes a string of new and imaginative businesses — including Three Forks Bakery & Brewing, Wheyward Girl Creamery, Los Mineros taqueria, and the Golden Era lounge.

I spoke with Jonathan on the phone about his plans for Stonehouse at year-end: “Some of his thoughts: Go slow. Perhaps start with tapas/drinks before expanding to a restaurant. Would consider a small brewhouse later. Invite guest chefs, make it an approachable ‘food’ destination, etc. He said he is related to the author of ‘Diet for a Small Planet,’ a favorite book of mine. Not a big focus on events. A nice, thoughtful man, and I think he would be a good steward. He loves the town. His son was born here.”

On the 7X7 website, Rowe lists the Sierra foothills as a “go-to local getaway,” “for a long hike and some wake surfing.” His Madrone Studio’s clients includes a “who’s who” in Silicon Valley, including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft, as well as the champion Golden State Warriors.

“It would be great to see this building in all its glory,” said one reader on my Facebook page, where I posted the news on a pending deal at yearend. “One of the coolest spaces in town.”

Rowe also is shown as the holder of Alcoholic Beverage Control licenses at the Stonehouse. One is type 47 “on sale general eating place” and another is the type 58 “caterer permit,” according to the ABC website.

The ABC license had belonged to the building’s longtime owner Nikko Wu, according to the public filing. Wu has held the “on sale general eating place” license since February 2009, records show.

This license previously had been held by Greystone Partners, whose partners included Mimi Boardman, a co-owner of the Stonehouse Restaurant. (Mimi’s husband, George, is The Union’s weekly columnist). The Stonehouse Restaurant closed its doors in late 2008.

After the Stonehouse Restaurant closed, the building hosted the Stonehouse Hospitality Academy. More recently, Wu had been running the Stonehouse as an events venue.

In October, Wu was charged with evading payroll taxes, as has been widely reported. The case is pending. Friends have rallied to support her, with efforts that included a crowdfunding campaign.

New vibrance

The revitalization of the Stonehouse is the latest example of new vibrance in Nevada City. Some new businesses recently have been springing up, including the Golden Era lounge, with mixologists from some of San Francisco’s hottest bars; Los Mineros taqueria, with acclaimed Bay Area chef Jason Moniz and former city mayor and community leader Reinette Senum; and Wheyward Girl Creamery, Nevada County’s first creamery. Expert cheese maker Barbara Jenness is Jason’s mom, a culinary “small world.”

The Alpha Building on Broad Street also got a “facelift” that include fresh paint and new windows.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

4 thoughts on “Scoop: San Francisco entrepreneur confirms purchase of historic Stonehouse in Nevada City”

  1. This article, posted in “Nevada County Peeps” on Facebook, has generated more than 150 “likes,” 30 shares and 25 comments. I’ve received numerous emails from people wanting to get in contact with the owner. It registered more than 2,200 views, all told. Social media is redefining communications in our towns! And erasing the bottleneck of the “old media.”

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