Exterior, interior of elegant modern structure will be a work of art itself

Photo courtesy Dan McCranie
From left, Nick Gaich, Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce President/CEO; Gino Borgioli, City Councilmember; John K. McKay, City Councilmember; Christina Turner, City Manager; Edith Ramirez, Assistant City Manager for Community Development; Dan McCranie, owner; Rich Constantine, Mayor; Yvonne Martínez Beltrán, City Councilmember; Sean Martino, Associate Principal Architect KTGY; Larry S. Kent, General Contractor, owner of Kent Construction; Ellie Honl Herman, Gallery Director at Colibri Gallery, break ground on the new Edes Building.

By Robert Airoldi

The Edes Building will attract fine art aficionados to downtown Morgan Hill to explore a state-of-the-art gallery showcasing the works of some of the Bay Area’s most creative contemporary artists. That is the hope expressed by speakers at a groundbreaking ceremony held Sept. 22.

An artist’s rendering of the exterior of the new Edes Building at the corner of Second Street and Monterey Road in downtown Morgan Hill. Photo courtesy Dan McCranie

Located at Monterey Road and Second Street where the Pop-up Park once stood next to Betto’s Bistro, the elegant modern structure will be a work of architectural art itself. And its construction signals the downtown renaissance continues, with the developer and city staff promising the building will invigorate the district by merging art and community.

Privately funded by Dan and Kathy McCranie, the owners of Ladera Grill and Colibri Art Gallery, the gallery space will consist of two multi-faceted levels for art exhibitions, workshops, and public art programming, as well as a high-end wine café. The couple are longtime South Valley residents, avid art collectors, and supporters of local visual arts.

An artist image of the interior of the Edes Building. Photo courtesy Dan McCranie

“Dan McCranie and the team at Colibri are committed to invigorating the arts and culture experience in Morgan Hill,” said city of Morgan Hill Assistant City Manager Edith Ramirez. “We are fortunate for their vision, commitment, and passion for the arts.”

McCranie described getting to the groundbreaking as a long process and noted he couldn’t be more excited the project was now moving dirt after a 16-month process that started during the COVID-19 pandemic. McCranie said he was concerned how city staff, the city council and the community would respond and that he wasn’t just looking for approval but strong support.

“In the midst of COVID we were unable to talk one-on-one,” he said. “We were Zooming and texting. When we made our presentation we didn’t know how it would go, but it went wonderfully.”

Taking inspiration from the local landscape, the building is designed by Sean Martino of KTGY out of Los Angeles, a firm that also designed the Granada Theater. The Edes is designed to be a work of art by using mass timber throughout the building and incorporating sculptural elements in the architecture, he said. The layout will provide an open and contemporary ambiance that is both warm and welcoming.

“This is an exciting moment for me and our firm,” Martino said during the ceremony. “This was really a team effort, Dan, the community and staff.”

“The Edes Building provided an exciting opportunity for KTGY to break the mold of traditional art galleries,” Martino added. “By embracing the surrounding rolling hills and greenery, along with the movement downtown, we were able to design a flexible gallery that serves the community through art and entertainment while paying homage to the history of Morgan Hill.”

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The site has a rich history in Morgan Hill dating back to the 1920s as the location of the Edes Grocery Store, which was the inspiration behind the building’s name. Several businesses have filled the space, with the last being South Valley Bikes.

General Contractor Larry Kent, owner of Kent Construction, said it is a unique, graceful and intriguing architectural concept that the company hopes when completed will be an iconic edifice for the South Valley.

“We’re very much looking forward to transforming that concept into reality,” he said. “The architecture includes a mass timber structure that is a one-of-a-kind cutting edge project. We’re using other innovative materials when really the building is a work of art. It’s going to be a beautiful building in downtown Morgan Hill.”

The project complies with the city’s Sustainable Building Provisions, which include developing environmentally responsible and efficient structures.

“A significant portion of construction materials for the Edes Building uses cross laminated timber which is an eco-friendlier product as compared to carbon-emissions heavy materials like steel or concrete,” said city of Morgan Hill Plan Check Engineer James Son.

Ramirez said she’s happy to see the project come to fruition and pleased with the design.

“KTGY’s unique design of the Edes Building offers an aesthetically pleasing contemporary design while honoring the site’s historical significance,” she said.

Ellie Honl, manager of Colibri, was instrumental in helping design the interior of the building and said art enriches life.

“We want to make art accessible to all through exhibitions, workshops and children’s art programs,” she told the crowd gathered for the ceremony. “Our goal is to invigorate visual art in Morgan Hill toward becoming an arts destination for the greater Bay Area while also promoting incredible artists and the beauty of South County. This building provides a truly unique opportunity to explore diverse forms of art including music, performing and food with desire to bring art and the community together.”

Longtime Morgan Hill resident Marlene Amerian, who in 2007 created the bronze sculpture, “Waiting for the Train” near the train depot, spoke at the ceremony about the importance of art in our lives.

Art has been an important part of human society since the beginning of time and is used as a tool for cultural exchange, education and expression, she said. It serves to fulfill society’s sense of beauty and wonder of the world and provides creative expression of and documentation of history.

“This art gallery will bring many benefits to our community,” she said. “It will improve the image of Morgan Hill, it will serve as a showcase of wines and cuisine from our region and it will educate local people about their own cultural identity and heritage — and also foster social cohesion and active citizenship. So I’m pleased to be here and excited to see how this new art gallery will serve as a catalyst to generate further cultural growth and enrichment here in Morgan Hill.”