Downtown Condo Guys

The “Little Red Bungalow” in better days (Mission Hills Heritage)
History, Mission Hills

Ongoing Preservation Battle in Mission Hills

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

While this may not be as glamorous a fight for bestowing historic designation to the Spanish Colonial-style abode in Los Angeles where Marilyn Monroe once took residence, there remains an equally feisty effort in our own backyard for saving a cherished address in Mission Hills.

The ultra-cute “red bungalow” at 820 Fort Stockton in Mission Hills has been embroiled in a battle pitting the City of San Diego along with the property’s owner—both questioning the merits of historical designation—against preservation groups and community residents feeling otherwise.

Working the front lines to save the Craftsman-style structure is Mission Hills Heritage (MHH) and Save Our Heritage Organisation. Along with architectural experts from IS Architecture in La Jolla, they recently forwarded their revised case for arbitration to the city’s Historic Resources Board with the hopes of gaining historical designation for the property once and for all.

The effort was made after the city shot down previous pleas from the preservation groups, which had seemingly cleared a path for the owner to demolish the bungalow for housing and/or retail development.

But in early September, MHH received word from the city that its latest case would be heard by the Historic Resources Board. That hearing was held on Sept. 28 for further review, although preservationists were warned historical designation may not happen.

In the meantime, MHH welcomes donations to recoup legal costs as it continues making a last-ditch crusade to save the bungalow, which dates back to 1912. It was first occupied by a local family for more than 40 years and later became a pet store and then a French-inspired boutique.

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