The Coronado Ferry Landing followed its heated first public meeting with a second in the Winn Room at the Coronado Public Library on Thursday, Sept. 22 regarding property enhancement plans.
The project encompasses the retail center plus Peohe’s building. It focuses on an updated concept matching Coronado’s architecture, overall property beautification, curb appeal improvement and no building layout modification.
Christian Herrera, general manager of the Coronado Ferry Landing, opened the meeting by sharing his team’s understanding of community desires thus far as well as goals to maintain the charm of the Ferry Landing’s look and feel, match Coronado’s prominent coastal Victorian architecture like the Hotel del Coronado and along Orange Avenue as well as nix previous ideas of steel and glass features.
Then Chris Fassler, architect for Joseph Wong Design Associates in San Diego, cut the room’s tension further by self-deprecatingly joking about the last meeting that they don’t usually don’t get spanked so publicly and that it was “well-deserved” — followed by attendee laughs.
Fassler walked meeting-goers through the new design presentation, sharing how he went for an out-of-pocket staycation at the Del and then the team went back to the drawing board. He reviewed adjusting a single parking lot, cleaning up First Street traffic, improving sidewalks and utilities as well as hardscaping and signage. He also highlighted how landscaping plans are focused on being “drought-tolerant but lush” and that this can be done quite well.
The architect added how intense bay light can be eased with shade structures; different, welcoming gathering and sitting areas can be constructed; lighting can be incorporated warmly and naturally; and touches like blending in trash cans as well as finishing borders with palm trees would add to the environment. He also mentioned pier-like yet maintenance-friendly materials and patterns would be used.
Switching to the main rendering showing the overall updated look and feel, Fassler described the red Victorian roof as well as overhangs and molding essentially, trellises with retractable canvases and other details.
“This is where we came from,” he said while clicking to the old rendering; “hopefully you don’t remember that” — to which he got more laughs.
Comments followed the presentation and were mainly positive. One pleased participant commended the team for taking on the challenge and putting in the time and effort, followed by applause from the room.
Another attendee agreed and gave some history related to the idea of overhangs or eaves at the Ferry Landing as well as how that can affect space calculations. She said it was once a negotiation between citizens and the Port of San Diego, and she appreciated the team addressing that challenge.
One attendee remarked: “I must be the only person old enough here to have taken the Coronado ferries,” and she questioned the idea of another restaurant past Il Fornaio. Herrera said they’re in talks with a couple but nothing is guaranteed, yet they are considering a restaurant there. “Well Coronado doesn’t like that,” she said firmly and attendees laughed lightly.
When asked about the enhancement project timeframe, Herrera responded a couple years and the Port’s present Christian Anderson went over some of the process’ details — from stormwater and other environmental reviews to the board’s preliminary project review and concept analysis. While Anderson anticipated a shorter timeframe, one aspect discussed is project phases to also not disrupt tenants too much.
In response to questions, Herrera also noted they’re looking into band placement by the bay, weighing grassy areas, looking at an improved tenant mix and committed to addressing retail area maintenance problems.
“There’s a new sheriff in town on the Ferry Landing and I’m gonna do my best,” he said.
Former Port commissioner Garry Bonelli spoke up to encourage sharing thoughts often throughout the whole project process and that those have significant weight.
The public is invited to submit comments and further inquiries to [email protected] by Oct. 6. Yet input is encouraged beyond the deadline and again, throughout the process, as well as to encourage your neighbors to do so too.
Herrera shared with the Times later how there’s a lot of noise around Coronado about businesses and organizations potentially being taken over by corporations. He emphasized that’s not the case here. The Ferry Landing has been a family-owned business with lots of attachment to the Coronado community for many years and the plan is to continue that.
“That’s who we are,” he said.
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