Construction begins on former Rude Brothers building in South Lake Tahoe |

Construction begins on former Rude Brothers building in South Lake Tahoe

Autumn Whitney
Construction began on the Harrison Avenue building, which formerly housed Rude Brothers and South Tahoe Standup Paddle, on July 11. The first phase involves demolishing the portion of the building that did not meet engineering standards..
Autumn Whitney / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — On Monday, July 11, construction began on the Harrison Avenue building that formerly housed Rude Brothers Bagel & Coffee and South Tahoe Standup Paddle.

John Cefalu, a longtime real estate investor, purchased the Harrison Avenue property with local contractor Mike McKeen in February for $820,000. They both anticipated major building renovations. An inspection revealed the front part of the building did not meet engineering standards, so they ended up having to demolish a portion of the structure — only the warehouse in the back will remain.

“It’s been a long, complicated process to get to this point,” said Cefalu, who has owned a line of buildings on Tallac Avenue since 1975.

Initially, the owners hoped to begin construction mid-May with a completion date in mid-October; but due to a six-week delay starting the construction process, the new completion goal is the beginning of December.

According to Cefalu, the planning process took longer than expected mainly due to a slow review process compounded by the busyness of summer building season.

“We’re anxious to get moving. We’ve been restless and anxious for two months,” he said.

During renovations, utilities, indoor sprinklers and a grease interceptor will be installed. The inside will be left unfinished so tenants can design it to their own needs, with the owners’ consent. A parking lot at the back of the building is also planned. Construction focuses on updating the structure so it is easier to maintain in winter months, in addition to making it more attractive.

“When you drive down the road, you’ll want to go in the building,” McKeen said.

Cefalu said remodeling costs are estimated to be a $500,000 or more.

When construction ends, the finished property will total approximately 9,000 square feet, including both upstairs and street space. Ideally it will hold four or five tenants, Cefalu added. Currently, the building is approximately 8,000 square feet.

The owners said they received calls from companies wanting to use the space, but nothing is decided yet because the construction timeline is not set in stone. They hope small eateries — such as bakeries, donut shops and burger joints — will be interested in moving in once the building is complete.

“Potential tenants see the value in being centrally located,” Cefalu said.

South Tahoe SUP found a new home farther down Harrison Avenue at the beginning of April. It now shares a building closer to the lake with Revive Coffee & Wine. Cefalu explained that Rude Brothers is in the process of looking for a new location — its equipment is currently stored in the warehouse at the back of the construction site.

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