If you go to the world-famous La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California (a neighborhood of San Diego), you can stand looking at the ocean and see this:
If you turn and look behind you, this might be what you see:
Those two houses, named Red Roost (top) and Red Rest (bottom), were built in 1894. They are the region’s oldest surviving examples of late-Victorian beach cottage architecture.
They were bought in 1967 by the La Jolla Cove Motel and Hotel Apartments, today known as the La Jolla Cove Suites. On adjacent land sat the La Jolla Bath House, demolished to make way for part of the La Jolla Cove Suites.
The owners intended to demolish the red cottages and build an apartment building. They met with community resistance, although the San Diego City Council withdrew its objection to demolition in 1975. In March 1976, the cottages were placed on the register of the California Office of Historic Preservation, an action that the owners knew nothing about.
That designation, a subsequent designation from the National Register of Historic Places, and the fact that San Diegans passed Proposition D in 1972, setting a height limit of thirty feet on new construction in La Jolla, have prevented the owners from developing the properties.
Since they could not develop the property as they wished, they evicted the tenants in 1977 and began what appears to be intentional and prolonged neglect.
There have been many plans over the years to develop or restore the properties, but none of them have come to fruition.
In 2010, the two properties were put up for sale at $10 million each. I’m sure the land itself in this location is worth $20 million, but the hassle of trying to develop or restore these two houses precludes any logical, sane person from spending that kind of money on them.
Historic structures are required to be kept weatherproofed and free of litter and excess vegetation. I’m not seeing that here and wonder why the City of San Diego doesn’t do something. This is so sad.
Well, at least the houses have new fences around them……..
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Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572
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