OAKLEY -- A little more sweetness will be coming to Oakley Plaza this summer.
The City Council unanimously agreed this week to negotiate a lease with Republic of Cake, which plans to open sometime between mid-July and early August.
The city approached the specialized bakery with an invitation to consider moving into a small retail space adjoining Carpaccio Ristorante at Vintage Parkway and Main Street.
The owner-operated business, which sells unconventional cupcakes as well as ice cream cookie sandwiches, was the sole bidder.
"For me this is definitely something that is unique," said Mayor Kevin Romick, noting that Republic of Cake's menu can't be found in shopping malls.
One can satisfy a sweet tooth with confections like pumpkin cheesecake and cranberry orange. Those who prefer savory snacks can order a cornmeal cupcake containing caramelized onions, vegetables and sage.
According to the terms of the proposed agreement, the city will invest up to $220,000 to convert the shell into a usable building with plumbing, electrical wiring, heating, air conditioning and other permanent features.
Republic of Cake initially would lease the space at a base rate of $1 per foot -- $1,300 per month -- in addition to 5 percent of gross sales that exceed $175,000. This so-called "percentage rent" is estimated to come to $8,750 the first year.
The month-to-month lease the city is expected to approve comes with the stipulation
Oakley built the storefront with redevelopment funds and, now that its redevelopment agency has been dismantled, state law might require it to sell this asset. In order to be able to hold onto the building the city must receive approval from the state Department of Finance.
The co-owners of Republic of Cake -- a former wireless telecommunications consultant and a University of California molecular biology graduate -- expressed a desire in their business proposal for the city to decide how it will use the former Centro-Mart building as well as when the conversion of that former grocery store will take place.
They also indicated they wanted to see the remodeling of the strip mall at the rear of the plaza get underway.
The Oakley store will be the second of its kind; the first Republic of Cake opened in 2009 in an Orinda shopping center where it continues to thrive even as other businesses there have come and gone.
Council members praised the bakery's philanthropic practices, which have included donations to Children's Hospital of Oakland, an educational foundation, and a nonprofit whose volunteers advocate for abused and neglected children in the courts system.
Contact Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Follow her at Twitter.com/RowenaCoetsee.