Hotel del Coronado Continuing Saga
By David Swarens
On the afternoon of Tuesday, August 28th, the Coronado Planning Commission acted to recommend non-certification of the environmental review documents (EIR) covering expansion plans for the National History Landmark Hotel Del Coronado, citing concerns of the adequacy of analysis in several areas, including Cultural Resources/Historic Preservation. It was a 4 to 1 vote, with the opposing commissioner stating, for the record, that he shared the concerns about the treatment of historic resources. And further stated that he would have voted along with the rest of the Commission if the motion concerned the historic resources alone, and agreed the section did not meet the requirements of CEQA. The commission moves the program on to the Coronado City Council for review and decision on September 18.
The plan proposes the demolition and removal of industrial complex buildings, including the power plant, largest in the world when the hotel opened, the ice house and storage buildings, the carpenter shop, the laundry, a tunnel connecting the complex to the hotel, and other historic elements of the Del's original and early development, all found eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The Landmark smokestack will be retained in the program, which would create additional guestrooms and a conference center. Earlier that morning, SOHO, represented by Executive Director Bruce Coons, Vice President Barry Hager, and Board Members and past presidents Vonn Marie May and David Swarens, met with Del management with an offer to work together to develop a preservation project alternative which would meet CEQA California Environmental Quality Act requirements. The Hotel has committed to review possibilities, and directed their preservation consultant, San Francisco Architect Bruce Judd, to this effort.
SOHO has met on and off with the hotel since it was first acquired by the current ownership from the Traveler's Group after that concern had abandoned an ill conceived plan to expand the hotel with a wall of massive new construction. SOHO's "Save the Del Campaign" encouraged that course of action.
Several of the commissioners and members of the public at the afternoon hearing welcomed news of the possible collaboration of SOHO and The Del. We are confident that a good faith effort by the Del can develop an acceptable design solution to meeting their program needs while incorporating elements of this historic support complex.
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Hotel Del Coronado Continuing Saga
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