Demolition of the Star Building at Beech and Kettner
The Orchids & Onions jury found the notion of demolishing the 1911 Star Building perplexing, determining that “We simply can’t afford to build, or to lose, a structure like that anymore.” And then there’s that historic designation issue…
Built in 1911, the Star Builders Supply Company building was historically designated in 1991 as City of San Diego Historical Landmark #312. Then, in 1996, it was painstakingly preserved and restored by the County of San Diego. Now, the conversion of the 8-acre parking lots north and south of the historic County Administration Center into a large, much needed community and regional open space poses an all-too-familiar problem – what are we going to do with the cars??
A proposed and partially underway demolition of the Star Building has been deemed necessary to ensure that a new parking structure “is sited and constructed in a manner that supports both existing and projected needs for County operations and activities.”
The jury gets the County’s quandary, but doesn’t understand destroying historic buildings in order to create more parking garages. And it raises are questions. Lots of them:
Why couldn’t the existing building be incorporated into a new structure?
What about the planned 250 space underground facility at Waterfront Park scheduled for completion next fall?
What does this mean to our other historically-designated buildings??
What does this mean to our heritage??
The County is indeed "creating a piece of paradise and public space by removing a parking lot, but they are also razing paradise to replace it."
- Project Address: At Intersection of Beech and Kettner in Little Italy, San Diego CA 92101
- Project Owner/ Developer: County of San Diego
- Owner Contact Name/ Email: County of San Diego, Dept. of General Services, Dave Timber, Project Manager, David.Timber@sdcounty.ca.gov
- Project Architect/ Designer: Original Building: Unknown
Proposed parking garage demolishes The 1911 Star Builders Supply Company Building located at the corner of West Beech Street and the railroad tracks near Kettner Boulevard was historically designated in 1991 as City of San Diego Historical Landmark #312.In 1996 the County invested considerable public funds to rehabilitate and seismically retrofit the building and change the use from a warehouse to a commercial office use.
Also known as the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company, the pre-World War I, concrete warehouse, is built in the Edwardian Commercial style. It is an excellent example of a turn-of-the-century industrial building. Star Builders, who specialized in concrete, showcased their products with the building, which is one reason it is so striking. The reinforced concrete framed building has cast concrete blocks made to simulate quarried stone infill.
SOHO says this about why saving this building is so important: "Little remains of the warehouse and industrial district in this area today, making this unique building an important connection to the historic use of this neighborhood."
The proposed project is a County of San Diego initiated two-phase project for the redevelopment of the Cedar and Kettner property, within the Centre City community of the City of San Diego. The phased project would begin with removal of the existing on-site structures and construction of a parking structure, followed by the future development of a mixed-use mid- to high-rise tower.