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Ballpark Preservation Plans Continue Even As Construction Stops

By David Swarens

It has been a year since SOHO's settlement agreement with the San Diego Padres baseball team, City and Redevelopment Agency (CCDC) has been in effect.

As you recall, the agreement calls for the restoration and reuse of eleven major historic structures within the Ballpark Project. Mostly around the "Park At The Park" and along the J Street corridor where the largest concentration of vintage buildings provides a linkage between the project and the Gas Lamp Quarter Historic District.

The Showley Brothers Candy Factory will be moved approximately a block down the corridor. The Western Metal building will be a prominent feature of the park itself, with boxes, dining, team store, entry to the park and right field foul line all included.

Historic District Type Design guidelines will govern most new infill development along J Street and the early Rosario Hall will once again find a new home.

As part of the settlement, a Preservation Advisory Group (PAG) was created. PAG is made up of the interested parties. SOHO is represented by President Bruce Coons and David Swarens, with architect Paul Bishop, who is chair of the San Diego City Historical Resources Board.

In addition, M. Wayne Donaldson, FAIA, and David Marshall of his office, and newly elected SOHO board member, consult as members of the project team. Attorney Bill Delvac also brings his experience as a preservation developer and mediator to the table.

PAG meets on an as needed basis and has so far been able to come to agreements on a consensus basis. The good faith of the original negociations has been on relatively minor issues, but nevertheless, there have been some difficult decisions.

One of these issues has been The Candy Factory move. The developer's responsibility was capped at three million dollars, but as actual costs hit four million plus, the team was still moving forward with plans and a tenant for the relocation and restoration.

At our September meeting, we looked at the Simon Levi Wholesale Grocers (KVASS) building. This is the one building covered by the agreement in which only the front portion is preserved in place.

In compromise we traded the removal of a galvanized metal utility structure, which is actually an elevator shed on the Scheiffer & Sons (Bundy) building for an additional 2 1/2 foot set back on this jewel box of a building which fronts on the park.

Previously we had agreed on the removal of rear parapets where S & Sons joins new construction, and reconstruction of interior elements of the Simon Levi, which will actually be in a new building, as a transition between old and new.

With all these decisions, both big and small, we believe we are ensuring a long life for these historic buildings while improving the fit of the ballpark into the center city mix. And we are proud that this settlement consultation provides a model for developer-community-resource conflict resolution.

The Padres have assembled a winning team for this project, which we hope will get moving again soon. Planning and design activities continue even though construction has stopped, and SOHO will be there as members of PAG through opening day.

2000 - Volume 31, Issue 2

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The La Jolla Saga Continues
Preservation Action Subcommittee News
The California Preservation Foundation Chooses San Diego for Conference in 2001
Thank You For Your Support
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Rest in Peace - Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant House

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