Commission seeks to protect historic buildings

The Copeland family's proposed Chinatown project could face trouble over two historic buildings.



At the Cultural Heritage Committee's Nov. 26 meeting, the seven-person advisory body made a recommendation to the Planning Commission--and ultimately the City Council--that two historic buildings slated for demolition should somehow be incorporated into the new construction instead. The Planning Commission was slated to take it up Nov. 28.

The Sauer Bakery building--commonly referred to as the Pier 1 building in reference to a former tenant--located at 848 Monterey St., is recognized by the city as a historically significant property and requires City Council approval to be demolished. The neighboring Blackstone Hotel building is recognized as historically relevant by the Cultural Heritage Committee, but isn't protected in the same way.

The Chinatown project's architect, Mark Rawson, brought several photos of mold, rot, and general decay in the two buildings to the meeting, hoping to illustrate that they were beyond rehabilitation. The committee, however, wasn't swayed. Chairperson Barbara Breska said that there simply wasn't enough proof that the buildings should go. Rawson could not be reached as of press time.

"The applicant didn't have sufficient information to prove a need for total demolition," Breska said in an interview. She noted the committee's recommendation could mean, for example, that the fa¡ade be incorporated in the new construction.

"This area is the heart and soul of our downtown, and we thought that [the structures] were too important, and should not be demolished."

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