Historic Warehouse District, San Diego

The Ballpark redevelopment project. Originally it was touted as a way to get rid of a bunch of old warehouses. The only problem was, there’s a rich legacy of history and architecture in those old warehouses. SOHO helped educate both the public and the developer about the value of this historic district.

A development and preservation agreement was reached that allowed the redevelopment project to move forward while retaining and preserving 11 historic buildings in a 9 block area.  It was one of the largest preservation agreements ever in the United States.

Western Metal Supply Co. and Petco Park. World renown architect Antoine Predock designed the stadium, but the most striking feature–and everyone talks about it–is the preserved Western Metal Supply Building. The idea of this particular adaptive reuse came from San Diego architect Wayne Donaldson.  Technically the stadium is an modern addition to this historic building.

The 1916 Simon Levi Building preserved at its original site at 7th and J.

The neo classical Levi Wholesale Grocery Company, 1927. The later day Kvass Construction lettering has recently been replaced with the Simon Levi Company letters.

Power Station A.  San Diego’s only neoclassical power station.  It was dismantled years ago, but with the ball park agreement it was reconstructed.

Street view, Power Station A.

The Windows are original.

Door Detail

The 1920’s Kidd and Krone Auto Parts at 10th and J is now Pizza joint

Kidd and Krone Auto Parts window and door detail.

TR Produce building, 1933.  The modern construction is suspended above, not attached, thus preserving TR’s roof and ceiling’s clerestory lighting.

Carnation Dairy Building, 1928- 1930.  Although not a part of the ballpark agreement, it is covered under warehouse district design guidelines.

KOLBECK AUTO WORKS. This is not part of the Ballpark agreement, but it contributes to the overall character of the Historic Warehouse District and was historically designated by the San Diego Historical Resources Board by a vote of 8-0 on June 26, 2008.  It’s located at 1220 J Street next to Rosario Hall. It is unique for the use of the long-span trusses on a short building. The Board designated it as  a good example of industrial vernacular architecture.

San Diego City Council, however, over turned the designation. SOHO is currently working with the owner so the site can be developed while saving the building at the same time. SOHO seeks the rightful reinstatement the historic designation as well.

This is one of the jewels of the Warehouse District, the Art Deco Fire Station, 1937.

It was built by the WPA and is slated to become a restaurant

Little Church, Mexican  Presbyterian. It dates from the turn of the previous century. Several denominations occupied the space before it became a residence.  It awaits for a current redevelopment project at the site to begin before it is restored and utilized.

Mexican Presbyterian Church Window Detail

Rosario Hall, 1870.  San Diego’s oldest saloon and meeting hall.  Today home of The Mission restaurant.

Showley Brothers Candy Factory, 1924. It was preserved after being moved 280 feet.  It was the largest brick building ever moved in the western United States. It is the same family of  the Union Tribune’s Roger Showley. Original signage was recreated.

Schiefer and Sons Aeroplane Factory, 1917.  Today a popular restaurant occupies the ground floor.

Bledsoe Company Furniture Warehouse, 1925. Note the large flap hinge doors.

The Western Wholesale Drug Company Warehouse. 1927

San Diego’s Historic Warehouse District is a model example of how redevelopment can work hand in hand with historic preservation.

San Diego was able redevelop these 9 city blocks without destroying its identity. A great achievement for SOHO that is great for San Diego.

Dan Soderberg
I am Dan Soderberg, award winning documentary film maker and phototgrapher specializing in architecture, historic preservation and nature.

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