Work On Hotel Del Coronado’s Master Plan Underway - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado Home And Business

Work On Hotel Del Coronado’s Master Plan Underway

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Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2018 1:16 pm

Most of the attention paid to the $200 million Hotel Del Coronado Master Plan to this point has been focused on new construction, including the new 50,000 square foot Conference Center which will open on to a 14,000 square foot Great Lawn, complete with a scenic view of the historic hotel. In addition there will be 144 new South Beach guest rooms, which will increase the Hotel Del’s inventory to 901 rooms. The Master Plan also includes provisions for new parking structures on the north and south sides of the property.

Somewhat lost in the conversation to this point are the historic preservation elements that are part and parcel of the Master Plan. Hotel Del General Manager Harold Rapoza, Jr. said in an interview three months ago, “This plan will keep the Hotel Del alive for another 100 years, that’s for sure.”

The main portion of the Hotel Del was built in 1888, and Phase One of the Master Plan includes replacing the 203,500 square foot roof, which hasn’t been done in 20 years. Another nice touch that will impact the main hotel, according to Master Plan Consultant Kathie Breedlove, dates back decades. She said, “An element of the Master Plan is bringing back the front porch experience. There will be a lovely front porch with rockers and lemonade will be served. The Hotel wants to bring back that element of its glory. With the new Main Entry, there will be a sense of arrival. It will be grand, and you will be seeing the Victorian Building and the turret. And the green space will be nice. There will be better views to the beach and that will open the property up for a better event spacing experience.”

If you enjoy the history of the Hotel Del, you will be glad to know that several of the buildings on the property are going to receive major overhauls as part of the Master Plan. The structures and buildings to be renovated include the Power Plant, Smokestack and Tunnel that date to 1887; the Ice House Building from 1889; the 7,500-square foot Laundry Building which is a relative newcomer to the area, being constructed in 1920; and the three-story,25,000 square foot Oxford Building, which was the first major hotel in Coronado and dates back to 1887. The Oxford Building was purchased by the late owner of the Hotel Del Larry Lawrence, moved to its current site in 1983, and currently serves as the site of the Del’s administrative offices. 

During a recent interview with Breedlove and Hotel Del Director of Public Relations Sara Bauman, Breedlove said, “The whole area has historically, to the present day, been back of the house space, and that includes offices, facilities maintenance, and Human Resources all in that zone. Now it’s not highly visible space, but when the new Main Entry to the Hotel from Avenida Del Sol is completed, that will make the area much more visible. We want to make those buildings beautiful and take them back to their historic roots.”

The few lesser buildings won’t survive according to the Master Plan, including the two-story shingled building between the Ice House and the Laundry Building, the carpenter shop, the paint shop located behind the Ice House, and the garage and warehouse building behind the Oxford Building.

Breedlove said, “Some of the buildings weren’t very attractive, and we are clearing that area. We need to use that area for surface parking. We are putting parking everywhere we can put parking.” When the work for the Master Plan is completed, with the targeted time frame for completion being the Fourth Quarter of 2022, the Hotel Del will have 1,189 parking spaces on site.

But even the structures that aren’t surviving will live on, according to Breedlove. “Some of the building materials will be salvaged and re-used. We have some Douglas Fir beams, original windows, doors, fasteners that may be used in the new Conference Center or somewhere else on the property. We have completed the documentation for the Historic American Building Survey and submitted it to the National Park Service.”

The Laundry Building is an interesting case, with the Hotel Del supplying some facts about the facility, which housed a continuously active laundry operation from 1920 until early 2018. At one point in its history, the laundry served the residents of Coronado with a fleet of five laundry trucks, delivering across the city and down the Silver Strand, until about 1940. This building alone will be the beneficiary of structural reinforcements and seismic upgrades; the white paint currently covering the edifice will be removed from the exterior walls to show the original red brick façade; windows will be restored; with rooftop monitors, windows and louvered vents being installed.

The Power Plant, Smokestack and tunnel are historically notable, at least in part because they are 131 years old. The Hotel Del generated its own power and serviced all of Coronado until 1922. Breedlove noted, “Early residents of Coronado got their power bill from the Hotel Del Coronado.” The tunnel connects the power plant to the hotel, and the restoration will include structural reinforcements, seismic upgrades, and interior renovations to better accommodate back of the house employees.

A major emphasis is being placed on parking, which finds the Hotel Del being proactive on that front as well as in historic preservation. Baumann said, “Over the course of the Master Plan, we are losing parking spaces and then we are adding some. We are also working with our employees to provide complimentary bus passes and about 200 people have come forward. We are encouraging our employees to leave their car at home, which will save money and gas. We plan to manage our parking during construction and make it efficient for guests and visitors. There will be all-valet parking during some periods of construction to maximize the number of vehicles we can put in the available spaces.”

The Hotel Del Coronado is wholly owned by The Blackstone Group, L.P., a private equity and financial services company based in New York City. The Del is managed by Hilton and is part of the Hilton Hotels Curio Collection.

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