Tag Archives: real estate news

Memories of Mission Hills: The Fox Theatre Downtown, Video

9 Aug
I grew up loving the Fox Theatre in Downtown, San Diego. I saw Escape from Witch Mountain, Herbie the Love Bug, the Broadway musical Annie and my last memory was Devo concert at The Fox Theatre, 07/09/80. Today Im including some history and pics from one of my fav memories from growing up in Mission Hills. I also liked going to the sporting goods store Stanley Andrews on 2nd and Broadway.
The Fox Theatre opened in San Diego at the heyday of the silver screen era in 1929 with a huge contingent of stars arriving in their limousines to celebrate the beautiful addition to downtown San Diego. After World War II, the Fox stood silent. The San Diego Symphony acquired what was the Fox Theatre in 1984 at an initial cost of $7.5 million and renovations began performed by the same company that built the original theater. Video after the jump.

Skip to 3:35sec for Fox Theatre

A PERMANENT HOME EMERGES

It was David Atherton who, as music director, led the efforts to move the orchestra to the vacant Fox Theatre in downtown San Diego. That hall has a very interesting history. Philip Gildred, a carefree young entrepreneur whose travel plans were delayed in San Diego on his way from South America to New York, liked San Diego so much that he embarked upon a plan to give the city a landmark theatre. In association with William Fox of the Fox Theatre chain, he built the Fox Theatre for $2.5 million. It is estimated that today’s cost would be 20 times that amount. Originally the full structure between 8th and 9th avenues on B Street contained not only the large theatre but also a parking garage (a new concept in the 1920’s), offices and a large department store that served downtown for many years as Montgomery Ward.

THE MOVIE PALACE

The new Fox received only the best. A huge, $50,000 pipe organ was built into five walled chambers of the theatre. The interior decorative motif was cast vaguely in a Rococo theme, somewhat typical of the French Renaissance. Built by William Simpson Construction Co., the theatre was designed jointly by the architect W. Templeton Johnson, and William Day of the designer firm Weeks and Day. The theatre is believed to be the last surviving example of designer William Day’s creative work with this decor. Accuracy insists, however, that much of the interior decoration was the work of William Fox’s favorite designer, Mrs. Fox, whose tastes ran to the somewhat spectacular, often combining facets of various periods and geographies. Over the years, the interior has been preserved in its original motif, and regardless of the mélange it represents, it must be acknowledged that, if anything, it is appropriately theatrical!

A DAZZLING 1929 OPENING

In addition to a trainload of Hollywood personalities brought to San Diego for the opening night festivities in 1929, San Diegans turned out in record numbers to participate in the parade from Broadway to the theatre. The city’s population was 147,000. The crowd was estimated at 100,000. Some of the guest stars on opening night were Jackie Coogan, Buster Keaton, George Jessel and Will Rogers.
On opening day the Fox became San Diego’s largest movie theatre. It was then the third largest in the state, but today stands as California’s largest. Because of San Diego’s cross section of population, the Fox also became a choice for motion picture sneak previews. Walt Disney loved the atmosphere so much that he opened all of his movies at the Fox.
Click here for interview with Stanley Andrews: http://libraries.ucsd.edu/ark:/20775/bb5154766c/1-1.html
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Making It Easier, But Not Safer, to Cross into Balboa Park – voiceofsandiego.org: Survival

2 Aug

Photo by Sam Hodgson

Kate McGraw and Alex Oat walk McGraw’s dog across Sixth Avenue, where a curb cut leads the way into the busy road.
From the Reporter
What’s New
Improved curb ramps on the western perimeter of Balboa Park now make it easier for disabled pedestrians to get in and out of the park along busy Sixth Avenue.
The Problem
The city installed the upgraded ramps to comply with disability laws. But it does not plan to install other improvements, like stop lights or crosswalks, that would actually make them safer to use.
What Advocates Want
Pedestrian advocates want the city to do more to improve pedestrian safety on Sixth Avenue along Balboa Park, which has only four crosswalks across a span of 16 city blocks.
It’s common for impatient pedestrians to do what Alex Oat and Kate McGraw did Monday afternoon. Standing on the western edge of Balboa Park, they stepped into Sixth Avenue and crossed the wide, busy four-lane street at an unmarked intersection. Sixth Avenue runs alongside Balboa Park for more than a mile — that’s 16 city blocks — but has only four crosswalks.

Crossing at one of the unmarked intersections is more dangerous, yes, but for able-bodied women like Oat and McGraw, also more convenient than walking two blocks to the nearest traffic signal.
Now there’s good news for the wheelchair-bound, visually impaired, or otherwise handicapped who want to do the same. San Diego’s traffic department has just replaced old curb ramps along the park’s western perimeter with new, wider ones at each of those unmarked intersections. The new curb ramps were installed to make it easier for the handicapped to get into the street to cross in order to meet federal and state disability laws.
But the city has no plans to make other improvements, like stop lights, stop signs or crosswalks, that would make crossing the street at those wide intersections safer for disabled pedestrians, improvements that pedestrian advocates have long sought on Sixth Avenue.
Bill Harris, a traffic department spokesman, said the city’s decision to forego crosswalks was a deliberate one, based on traffic engineers’ belief that painting them at those intersections — which lack stop signs or traffic signals — could actually make crossing more dangerous. They would give pedestrians a false sense of security, engineers say, and make them less likely to look for oncoming cars before venturing into the street.
“By not putting crosswalks in we’re keeping people more aware of their surroundings and letting them make a decision about whether to cross,” Harris said. “If someone with mobility issues wants to cross the street, we want to make it easier. But installing two white lines is not related to that.”
And installing new stop signs or signal lights would interrupt the flow of traffic, which the city does not want to do on that busy corridor.
There is disagreement over whether painting crosswalks at intersections like those along Sixth Avenue — ones that don’t also have signal lights or stop signs — makes crossing safer or more dangerous for pedestrians. Traffic engineers still cite an influential 1970s study in San Diego that found more pedestrian accidents in intersections painted with crosswalks than in those without them.
But the newly replaced curb ramps illustrate what advocates say is a broader problem in the effort to improve pedestrian safety in San Diego. In this case, the city has complied with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements to aid mobility for disabled people without making other improvements that would actually make the ramps safe to use.
“This is a piecemeal effort to improve pedestrian safety,” said Kathleen Ferrier, a planner with the pedestrian advocacy group Walk San Diego. “ADA is required by federal law but those improvements are being done out of sync with other improvements to calm traffic along those corridors.”
For years, local advocates have been calling for broader pedestrian improvements along Sixth, Fifth and Fourth avenues in Bankers Hill, streets with bustling pedestrian traffic but also heavy car traffic from drivers trying to avoid congestion on nearby State Route 163.
A 2005 study commissioned by the Uptown Partnership, a group formed to address uptown parking issues, recommended eliminating a lane in each direction along Sixth Avenue and installing curb pop-outs that reduce the distance that pedestrians have to cross to get to and from Balboa Park.
Harris didn’t immediately know the fate of that study’s recommendations. But he said Sixth Avenue is one of Bankers Hill’s main north-south thoroughfares, with fast-moving traffic that the city would not want to interrupt.
“We just want traffic to flow more regularly on that street,” he said. That is why the city hasn’t moved forward with installing more traffic signals, he said, even at intersections like those that now have new pedestrian ramps to guide the disabled across four busy lanes of traffic.
Ferrier said more improvements were needed.
“We would like to see a more comprehensive approach to pedestrian safety, especially as it relates to improvements cited in the 2005 report,” Ferrier said. “These improvements would not only support comments from the community but also the city’s recently adopted General Plan,” which emphasized more sustainable, walkable neighborhoods.
Harris said the traffic department was interested in hearing recommendations to improve pedestrian safety, though he said walking a couple of blocks to get to the nearest crosswalk was a reasonable tradeoff to keep car traffic flowing freely down Sixth Avenue. The city still recommends crossing at marked intersections, Harris said.
Many pedestrians choose not to do that, though. On Monday, Charlie Offenhauer, a 96-year-old Bankers Hill resident, was inching across an unmarked intersection at Sixth Avenue and Nutmeg Street. Walking to the nearest crosswalk would have taken him two blocks out of his way.
“I’m very traffic-concerned,” he said after crossing.
Then again, he’s from New York City. Where he comes from, he said, pedestrians just wait until the traffic clears, and go.
Sam Hodgson contributed reporting to this story.
Adrian Florido is a reporter for voiceofsandiego.org. He covers San Diego’s neighborhoods. What should he write about next?
Contact him directly at adrian.florido@voiceofsandiego.org or at 619.325.0528 and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/adrianflorido.

San Diego Reader | "Plundering Historic Plaques" by dorianh

2 Aug
Owners of historically-designated homes in Uptown are on the lookout for thieves. The thieves are not the run of the mill hoodlums but instead are run of the Mill’s Act burglars.

The thieves are ripping off gold plaques from historically designated homes. Last week, historic plaques were torn from pillars in front of four homes in the Inspiration Heights district of Mission Hills. The thieves also snatched plaques from two homes along Fort Stockton Boulevard and one from the Griswold Building at the corner of Washington Street and Goldfinch.

Mission Hills isn’t the only neighborhood that has reported the plundering of plaques.

“Historic plaques have also been stolen from homes in Burlingame and from other older San Diego communities, not to mention the thief of plaques in Presidio Park,” reads the warning sent out by community organization, Heart of Kensington.

“There appears to be a mini-crime wave targeting our historic communities and our historic markers.”

Image

San Diego Reader | “Plundering Historic Plaques” by dorianh

San Diego Reader | “Plundering Historic Plaques” by dorianh

2 Aug
Owners of historically-designated homes in Uptown are on the lookout for thieves. The thieves are not the run of the mill hoodlums but instead are run of the Mill’s Act burglars.

The thieves are ripping off gold plaques from historically designated homes. Last week, historic plaques were torn from pillars in front of four homes in the Inspiration Heights district of Mission Hills. The thieves also snatched plaques from two homes along Fort Stockton Boulevard and one from the Griswold Building at the corner of Washington Street and Goldfinch.

Mission Hills isn’t the only neighborhood that has reported the plundering of plaques.

“Historic plaques have also been stolen from homes in Burlingame and from other older San Diego communities, not to mention the thief of plaques in Presidio Park,” reads the warning sent out by community organization, Heart of Kensington.

“There appears to be a mini-crime wave targeting our historic communities and our historic markers.”

Image

San Diego Reader | “Plundering Historic Plaques” by dorianh

Video: Historic Markers Stolen From Mission Hills Pillars – Print This Story News Story – KGTV San Diego

2 Aug

Markers Stolen Are 102 Years Old (see link for video)

A piece of history in Mission Hills is gone after four century-old bronze markers were taken from two pillars earlier this week.”I was ticked off,” said Allen Hazard, a Mission Hills homeowner and local historian.Hazard said he still can’t believe the markers were taken from the pillars on Sunset Boulevard near Alameda Drive sometime Monday evening or Tuesday morning.The name on the markers — Inspiration Heights — was the name of a new subdivision in 1909.In one old drawing Hazard showed 10News, the pillars with the markers were used in a brochure to attract buyers.”It appears they were yanked out, possibly with a crowbar. I think Mission Hills and the Uptown area has been robbed of a key part of our identity and history,” said Hazard.The thief or thieves may have a history of targeting history.”I heard a loud thud just before I was going to bed,” said resident Sean-Xavier Neath.In late June, a few blocks away, the homeowner looked outside around midnight and saw a man running to a car carrying garbage bags. The man apparently stole the homeowner’s plaque designating his historic home. The plaque is made of bronze alloy, which includes copper. The thief would also take two other plaques.Homeowner Bobby Sparks had a plaque stolen from his home.”It feels like a violation. Someone coming in and jacking your plaque off your home,” said Sparks.Hazard said, “102 years of history is gone for someone to get a couple hundred bucks. That’s outrageous.”Police are looking into a possible connection between the two strings of thefts.It is believed the markers were stolen for their scrap value.As for the historic home plaque, one homeowner paid more than $700 for his.

Historic Markers Stolen From Mission Hills Pillars – Print This Story News Story – KGTV San Diego

Redistricting Commission finalizes preliminary map | LGBT Weekly

28 Jul

The San Diego Redistricting Commission is expected to release its preliminary map at its July 21 meeting, showing how the City Council districts could be redrawn. The commission is hosting public hearings before it finalizes the map.

PROPOSED PRELIMINARY MAP

Using federal census data, the Redistricting Commission has to modify city council districts every ten years to adjust for population changes. This year, the city is also adding a 9th district, in accordance of the new strong mayor format approved by the voters last year.

The redistricting process must also preserve “identifiable communities of interest.” The LGBT neighborhoods were recognized as a community of interest 20 years ago with the creation of District 3, which includes areas like Hillcrest, North Park and City Heights.

Since the creation of the LGBT-friendly district after the 1980 census, San Diego voters have elected a gay or lesbian city councilmember.

A preview of an un-approved preliminary map, presented at Tuesday’s commission meeting, shows a shift of District 3 to the west. The proposal adds Little Italy, Old Town, Mission Hills, Bankers Hill and downtown to the west, and eliminates Talmadge, City Heights, portions of Normal Heights and Kensington. Azalea Park, which has catered to LGBT homeowners for years, is also being eliminated from the new LGBT-friendly district. The eastern portions of the existing District 3 are now included in the proposed District 9.

PROPOSED District 3

The proposed District 3 is very similar to a map presented to the commission by the LGBT Redistricting Task Force. The task force has been very involved in representing the LGBT community at commission public hearings and meetings.

“I am very happy with this map of D3,” said Linda Perine, LGBT Redistricting Task Force chairwoman.

PROPOSED District 3

If the preliminary map is approved at the July 21 meeting, the Redistricting Commission will host five post map public hearings to listen to public feedback based on the preliminary map. Those meetings are: July 26, 6 p.m. at the Logan Heights Branch Library; July 28, 6 p.m. at the Thurgood Marshall Middle School Theater; July 30, 10 a.m. at the Balboa Park Palisades Building Recital Hall; Aug. 1, 6 p.m. at the UTC Forum Hall; and Aug. 3, 6 p.m. at the Joan B. Kroc Center Multipurpose Room.

The LGBT Redistricting Task Force is meeting this Saturday, July 23, 10 a.m. at Filter Coffee Shop (1295 University Ave. in Hillcrest) to plan its approach to the post map hearings.

“Right now, things look pretty darn good,” the task force wrote on its Facebook page, “but they can change in a heartbeat.”

To join the LGBT Redistricting Task Force, contact Perine at 858-775-2950. For more information about the Commission, log on to sandiego.gov/redistricting or call 619-533-3060.

Redistricting Commission finalizes preliminary map | LGBT Weekly

City’s building height ordinance extended for 6 months – SignOnSanDiego.com

27 Jul

— The San Diego City Council has passed an extension to a temporary 2008 ordinance restricting building heights in three neighborhoods.
The council voted 7-0 to add six more months to the Interim Height Ordinance, which will now be in effect until January 2012. The law prevents new construction and renovations from exceeding 50 feet in Mission Hills and 65 feet in Hillcrest.
Structures can only breach the 65-foot limit in Bankers Hill with special approval from either the Planning Commission or City Council, Uptown Planners Chairman Leo Wilson said.
David Alvarez was absent from Tuesday morning’s session and did not vote.
The original ordinance, meant to freeze building heights until the completion of a new community plan update, was set to expire early this year. However, the council approved an initial six-month extension in January. Tuesday’s second extension will be the last permitted under the law.
“It’s my personal hope that this will light a fire underneath all the stakeholders to make sure the community plan update is completed as soon as possible,” Councilman Todd Gloria said. “I want to seek consensus in these communities so that we can make sure that the development goes where it’s supposed to go.”
Despite the extension, it is unlikely the community plan update will be completed in the next six months. In fact, council members said Tuesday they don’t expect it to be done for at least 18 months.
Wilson said after the meeting that it could take even longer, and he anticipates a new ordinance will be drafted in the next six months to keep the height limits in place until the community plan update is finished.
One councilman, Kevin Faulconer, said his patience with the process is running out. Faulconer voted in favor of the extension but said he supported it, “reluctantly.”
“We want this done, and we want it done sooner rather than later,” Faulconer said. “It’s not an open-ended commitment. We need to bring this to a resolution.”

nathan.max@uniontrib.com • (619) 718-5252 • Twitter: @natemax

City’s building height ordinance extended for 6 months – SignOnSanDiego.com