City Called Upon to Protect North Chapel With Court Order Against New Landlord’s Renovations

by on January 22, 2019 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach

Congregations Threatened By New Landlord – If They Stay They Must Not Oppose Renovations

There’s been some new developments – and increased tension – around the North Chapel at Liberty Station. The City of San Diego is being called upon by a member of one of the congregations that used the chapel for religious services to obtain a court order to protect the chapel from any renovations by its new landlord.

And the new landlord says the congregations can continue to use the chapel through 2019 as long as they don’t oppose the new renovations.

Jeff McDonald at the San Diego Union-Tribune reports parishioner Henry Garon wrote a letter to to city officials in early January claiming the new landlord, Pendulum Properties Partners of Orange County, along with the operator 828 Venue Management Co. want to make significant changes to the chapel’s interior.

In his letter, Garon wrote:

“828 does not recognize Mr. Caldwell’s authority, and it is urgent that the city should immediately move for an injunction to prevent the destruction of our historic chapel.”

McDonald at the U-T reported:

Garon, a member of the St. John Bosco Mission parish who is also an attorney, said the North Chapel leaseholders do not appear to be abiding by a memo from Erik Caldwell, the city’s interim deputy chief operating officer.

Caldwell warned that any changes to the church’s interior are not permitted because the chapel is a federally designated historic site. “The interior features such as pews, altar and pulpit of the North Chapel are a significant part of the historicity of the structure,” Caldwell wrote. “As the guidelines state, removing or altering significant historic features diminishes the overall historic character of the building.”

The 828 Venue Management Co. said it has an architect drawing up plans for the chapel but nothing has been submitted to the city for review. CEO Tim Wirick said Wednesday the remodeling will comply with federal guidelines for historic properties.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s office says – according to the U-T – going to court would be premature as no plans for any renovations have been sent to the city. A spokeswoman for the mayor, Christina Chadwick, replied in an email:

“It is the mayor’s position that any plan submitted must respect and maintain the North Chapel’s historical aspects.

“The mayor has communicated his priorities directly to the leaseholder and now the ball is in their court to draw up a plan. We all agree this is an important property for the community and we look forward to seeing what is submitted.”

The Peninsula community at large has been observing the see-saw battle over the future of North Chapel for nearly a year now – but these new developments don’t calm the fears the North Chapel will be saved.

More from McDonald at the U-T:

In emails to congregation leaders, the new owners offered to let the congregations stay at the North Chapel through 2019 — as long they understood the chapel would be unavailable during “modifications” and if they agreed not to oppose the renovation. “You and your parish must be supportive of 828 and our proposed changes to the North Chapel,” 828 told Our Lady of Fatima in late December.

Both congregations rejected the offer.

Wirick said the company’s goal was to permit the congregations to remain at the North Chapel this year, but church officials were not behind 828’s vision for the property. “We are currently talking with other congregations about using the chapel on Sundays for worship services, as well as others in the community that are excited about experiencing this truly remarkable building,” Wirick wrote.

San Diego Union-Tribune

The OB Rag has posted numerous articles about the fight to save North Chapel:



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