Reprieve for North Chapel in Point Loma’s Liberty Station

by on July 31, 2018 · 1 comment

in Ocean Beach

North Chapel at Liberty Station. All photos by Frank Gormlie

The North Chapel in Liberty Station has been under a siege of sorts, as McMillin companies have been trying to turn the historic sanctuary into a modern restaurant. A campaign ensured to protect and preserve it.

The OB Rag called it, “the last battle of San Diego’s old Naval Training Center.” We reported then:

In a nutshell, Corky McMillin Company wants to turn the historic NTC North Chapel – built in 1942 – into a “restaurant space” – it already advertises it as such – and this is meeting some fairly stiff resistance from the community.

And that resistance is being led by the congregations that use the sanctuary and by historical and architectural experts. There is an online petition to preserve the chapel.  …The congregations, Our Lady of Fatima and St. John Bosco Mission, both received basically eviction notices last fall that they’d all have to be out by June 30, 2018.

Interior of chapel

Logan Jenkins, columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune, was told in May by Joe Haeussler, executive vice president of McMillin Commercial, “that the chapel would be “activated” by a long-term tenant but, because they were in negotiations, he could not reveal what the chapel would become.”

In response, Father Gerard McKee of Our Lady of Fatima Church, one of the small Catholic congregations that for years have rented the chapel on Sundays, told Jenkins:

“It’s all about the Almighty Dollar.” He told the columnist, and added a miracle had to happen to save the parish from having to move.

Jenkins now reports, it’s not a miracle, but maybe “it’s a saving grace period.”

The chapel’s owner, a company tied to McMillin, said in a statement that a long-term tenant had not been found “so we’ve extended the agreement with our operator to make the Chapel available for short-term rentals through the end of this year. Our long-term goal is to find a use that both protects and respects the historic resource and allows for greater community enjoyment of the Chapel.”

Some give credit to Councilwoman Lorie Zapf for pressuring McMillin to grant the chapel a reprieve, while others rest easy because they know the grassroots campaign, the petition, the PR beating McMillin companies received, and a re-election campaign all helped to push Zapf.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Judith Prause August 6, 2018 at 10:05 am

Please save this beautiful landmark.
There are so many other places on the property to develop. The chapel is sacred
and should remain so. It would bring happiness to you and good feelings for the community that I am sure you want to enjoy the transformation of the other areas on the site.


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