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Showley Brothers Candy Factory Makes a 280 Foot Historic Move

The Ballpark Warehouse agreement is one of SOHO's most significant preservation triumphs, made in 1999 between Centre City Development Corp., the Padres, the City of San Diego, the National Trust, and SOHO. The agreement includes a Preservation Advisory Group to monitor treatment of the historic structures including preservation, restoration, reuse and rehabilitation of eleven buildings threatened under the original ballpark plan. Among the agreement's innovative solutions were incorporating the Western Metals Building into PETCO Park itself (a first in the nation) and relocation of the Showley Brothers Candy Factory. Built in 1924, the 3-story, 30,000 square foot, brick building produced candy until 1951.

The move. Photo by Sandé Lollis


On September 22 the building was moved to make room for the "Park at the Park", although its final use has not yet been determined. Moving the Candy Factory was one of the most ambitious undertakings required by the agreement. The 100 foot by 100 foot, un-reinforced brick building, which weighs 3 million pounds, was moved on wheels one block east of its present site, requiring over 42 hydraulic dollies and an intricate cable winch system.

The ceremony was attended by San Diego Mayor, Dick Murphy, Padres president, Dick Freeman, and representatives of Centre City Development Corporation, East Village Association, National Trust, and Save Our Heritage Organisation. "Through the design and construction of PETCO Park, we're committed not only to the redevelopment of downtown, but to preserving the historic integrity of the area," said Dick Freeman, Padres team president. "The preservation and incorporation of buildings such as the Candy Factory, and the Western Metal Supply Building in left field, are truly cornerstones of the project."

Mike Buhler, from the Western office of the National Trust, was on hand and stated that the move was not only a monumental feat of engineering, but also a testament to the effectiveness of the settlement agreement. Bruce Coons told the crowd, "Today we are not only saving history, we are making history," and further stated, "This unprecedented cooperation between the Padres, city, redevelopment agency and preservationists serves as a model of how to do it - not just in San Diego, but the nation. The success of the settlement agreement with the Padres and the dramatic relocation of the Showley Brothers Candy Factory have increased our effectiveness as an organization and historic preservation's visibility in our region."

2003 - Volume 34, Issue 4

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