Tag Archives: naval training center san diego

Out & About—Maybe I can buy a wheel spoke instead of a brick

Out & About

When I arrived in San Diego in April 1993, I passed a huge military installation, the Naval Training Center (NTC), on my way to the beaches each day. The NTC was founded in 1923 and eventually grew from an initial 200 acres to 550 acres. The 1993 Base Realignment and Closure Commission put NTC on the to-be-closed list, and that is exactly what happened, although it took until 1997 to get everyone out of there.

NTC now is the site of Liberty Station, a very cool mixed-use community—homes, businesses, a high school, many arts organizations, restaurants, a 9-hole golf course, grocery stores, parks, the historic North Chapel….

Many of the old buildings have been retrofitted for earthquakes and re-purposed. When I was visiting a couple of the waterfront parks a few days ago, I discovered Building 191, perhaps the only building that still exists but which has not been re-purposed yet. Looks like this:

Building 191, Naval Training Center San Diego

Building 191, Naval Training Center San Diego

Building 191, Naval Training Center San Diego

Building 191, Naval Training Center San Diego

Building 191, measuring 20’x80′, was built in 1942 as a maintenance building according to some sources or as a recreation building according to other sources. I’m going to go with a recreation building; it just seems way too big to be a maintenance building.

The area where Building 191 sits was planned to be a 46-acre park. However, the flight path for San Diego International Airport is directly over Building 191, so the Runway Protection Zone use and restrictions prevent it from being converted to any use which would result in large numbers of people using it. Thus the City of San Diego was going to use it for storage and not as a building that would have public access; so maybe it was a maintenance building after all………

Building 191 also was found to have asbestos-containing materials (ACM) and lead-based paint present. Before transferring Building 191 to the City, the Navy abated the building so that it did not contain friable, accessible, or damaged ACM. Those of us in real estate with ACM experience know that “abatement” could have several meanings other than removal, usually encapsulation. Encapsulation could include painting; it would be quite ironic if the Navy’s abatement included encapsulation painting with lead-based paint even though there currently are no requirements for the
abatement of lead-based paint. In any event, any rehabilitation to Building 191 would have to have an asbestos survey completed to determine locations and condition of any remaining ACM.

In researching Building 191, I found a document March 1, 2017, about the San Diego County Bike Coalition (SDCBC) desiring to acquire Building 191 and creating a new bicycling center for Liberty Station. SDCBC, a non-profit, is interested in the building because it straddles a major spur on the San Diego bike path system and could connect Harbor Drive with the Bayshore Parkway, providing a save means for cyclists to get to downtown and points farther south.

According to an SDCBC spokesperson, Building 191 is an old maintenance shed that the City wants to demolish because it doesn’t have the funds to do all that is required to re-purpose it. SDCBC’s vision includes adding porticos and decks around the outside to help make the building usable without moving interior hallways. Building 191 could be a meeting place for the Challenged Athletes Foundation and other cycling organizations, both for profit and not for profit. Even a cycling museum about the history of cycling is in the vision.

Historic bicycle

Well, when they start fundraising, I think I’ll contribute. Most fundraising enterprises in which I have participated allowed me to buy a brick. Maybe I can buy a wheel spoke instead of a brick this time….

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat


San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Training Facility

Out & About

Many years ago, from 1923 to 1997, there was a huge naval training complex of 550 acres on the north end of the San Diego harbor. It was closed by the Base Realignment and Closure commission in 1993. Most of it was converted into a mixed use development complex of 361 acres named Liberty Station, and many of the buildings were declared historic and were saved.

Yesterday I discovered the other 189 acres:

img_1178 fire rescue training center stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Most of these 189 acres consist of about 500 units of military housing.

img_1193 fire rescue training center stamp

img_1190 fire rescue training center stamp

img_1173 fire rescue training center stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The fire-rescue training facility is not accessible to the public, and there is a very tall green fence around the complex, said fence being about 15′ tall. However, through little cracks in the gate where entrances are, I was able to get pictures with my 28-300mm zoom lens.

img_1170 fire rescue training center stamp

img_1184 fire rescue training center stamp

img_1188 fire rescue training center stamp

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img_1200 fire rescue training center railroad tank car stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Now go back and look at the pictures and imagine thousands of new navy recruits training to keep America safe!

The Naval Training Station is San Diego Historical Landmark #425, so it eventually will show up in my San Diego Historical Landmark series.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Liberty Station in San Diego, California

Gun Platform No. 1 in San Diego’s Liberty Station

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I came to San Diego in April 1993, I thought that all the good real estate had been taken by the military. Point Loma was a National Cemetery and various military installations that had been there since the early 1900s. Coronado Island? A Naval Air Station. The harbor front? 32nd Street Naval Station. Much of the Southern California coast? Camp Pendleton. The military was everywhere.

Then came the budget cuts of the mid- to late-1990s. Military bases throughout the nation were combined, closed, or realigned. The Air Force’s famous Top Gun squadron that had been based here for many years moved to Arizona. Naval Air Station Miramar became Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. And so on.

One of the military bases here that was closed was the former Naval Training Center (NTC) San Diego, located in a prime waterfront location in Point Loma. When it was announced in 1993 that the NTC would be closing, the City of San Diego created a 27-member commission to determine what to do with the site, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Corky McMillin Company was selected as the master developer and began work when the base closed in 1997.

Now known as Liberty Station, the site comprises 361 acres and includes several distinct districts, including a retail and commercial district, a promenade focused on nonprofit activities, an educational district, a residential district, a hotel district, an office district, and a park/open space area along the boat channel. Many of the individual structures are designated as historic by the city of San Diego. As such, they have been saved from the wrecking ball and were adapted for stores, offices, schools, and other purposes.

Phase Two of the renovation was completed in November 2012 and brought the total number of saved and adapted buildings to fifteen. The nonprofit NTC Foundation oversees the development of the historic and nonprofit area. According to sources, Liberty Station is the largest historical preservation project in San Diego. It also happens to be the city’s largest arts and culture project in terms of size and scope.

There is no way to discuss in words and pictures in one blog post all that Liberty Station has to offer so I’ll be breaking it down into several posts in the future. Today, I’d like to show you Gun Platform No. 1.

Liberty Station in San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

According to that plaque on the ground at the lower right in the above picture:

Gun Platform No, 1, 1945
San Diego Naval Training Center

The two larger mounts [near and far mounts with black tips] are 5-inch, 51-calibre [sic] which were found on older battleships. This gun was designed to engage surface craft, especially with torpedo boats, that were too fast to be tracked and destroyed by a battleship’s large main guns. The large wheels on either side controlled the guns horizontal and vertical direction. The weapon fired a 50-pound, 5-inch diameter shell, and was propelled by a powder charge inside a separate silk bag. It had a range of 8 miles and a speed of more than 3,100 feet per second.

The single weapon with the elaborate mounting [center gun in picture] is a 5-inch, 38-calibre [sic] dual purpose gun. This lighter gun offered handiness in engaging aircraft targets with the same range and hitting power of a surface mount. It was widely used on destroyers, carriers, and later cruiser and battleship designs. The weapon could throw its 55-pound shell nine miles when fired vertically with a velocity of 2,600 feet per second.

Placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of Interior.

The plaque:

Gun Platform No. 1, Liberty Station, San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For a related post on Liberty Station, see North Chapel at Liberty Station in San Diego.

Liberty Station map

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos