Anchor ads are not supported on this page.

4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Downtown Caliente sign destined for doom?

Councilmembers' seats about to get hot — will they side with developer?

 “This is a 40-by-80 foot love letter to our symbiotic relationship with Mexico at one time," says Enrique Limón.
“This is a 40-by-80 foot love letter to our symbiotic relationship with Mexico at one time," says Enrique Limón.

Enrique Limón is on a mission to save the Caliente mural on the west façade of the nearly 90-year-old, decades-abandoned, California Theatre (1122 Fourth Avenue). Limón started a petition on April 22 when he caught wind of the Historical Resources Board meeting on April 28 to consider the historical designation of the mural along with two others at the same location.

The dog-racing sign on the south façade was painted in the 1960s/1970s. "It's pretty faded but can be restored. The patina is part of the history," said Coons.

Limón said on April 25, “We were hoping to have 250 signatures by Thursday, but we now have nearly 500. It’s really gaining momentum.”

Sponsored
Sponsored

Limón said about the mural, “This is a 40-by-80 foot love letter to our symbiotic relationship with Mexico at one time. Caliente was an economic and cultural boon in San Diego. It’s a tangible testament of a time before we spoke of building walls.”

The Caliente mural was unveiled in April 1956 by John Alessio of Mr. A’s fame. The “Fabulous 5-10” refers to wagering as well as to where he met his wife, who worked at Kress’ five-and-dime store. At that time, Alessio was the assistant general manager for the Caliente racetrack.

The “In Spot” sign is located on the north façade and reads “Barbary Coast, San Diego’s In Spot, Corner 4th and C.” It was painted in the 1960s/1970s for the Barbary Coast Tavern (closed in the 1970s).

Limón's mission is personal, as his maternal grandfather worked at the original Caliente resort in Mexico. It’s also a reminder of the time his mother met Elvis at the bullfights.

“I do hope that people show up Thursday and speak about what the sign means to them,” said Limón. “It’s a monumental piece of art of a time gone by with a technique that no longer exists. José Jesus Moreno is the artist that painted the roses on the letter ‘C’ in Caliente. Moreno worked for Pacific Outdoor Advertisement Company [creators of the mural]. He also painted the I-8 signs before they were standardized by the city.”

Bruce Coons, executive director of Save Our Heritage Organisation, said, “We received no formal notice. Friday evening [April 22] was the first time I saw that the signs were on the agenda online.”

Coons said that even though the California Theatre was designated on the local historic register in 1990, the signs weren’t addressed at that time.

“The Caliente sign is one of the largest signs of its type left in San Diego county,” said Coons. “The sign is important to most San Diegans. Testimony of what it means to people will be important this Thursday.

As Coons sees it, “Unlike many historical sites, the Caliente sign transports you back to a different time when crossing the border for entertainment was the norm. It was a time when our relationship with Mexico was good and San Diegans could glimpse celebrities. It tells a historical story that just isn’t possible with most other historic sites.”

Coons said if the board votes against the signs’ historical significance, he will take it to the state and national level.

“The developers have no roots in San Diego. They don’t care what the signs mean to San Diegans,” said Coons. “Three other major offers by major downtown developers have been made that want to incorporate the original elements, but their offers have been declined. The out-of-town developers acquired the property on foreclosure; they got quite a steal, and now they are trying to milk it for all it’s worth.”

The meeting to decide designation is at 1:00 p.m. on April 28 at 202 C Street. Coons said, “A strong turnout will have an impact. One can either speak or fill out a form telling what the sign means to you. It’s important to know that the murals are just the developer’s first step toward attempting to demolish the whole theater to build condos.”

Will public sentiment have any impact on the developer’s plans to demolish the signs and theater?

On April 26, Cyrus Sanandaji (principal at Sloan Capital) said, “No, preservation of the existing theater and tower is not economically feasible.” Sloan purchased the property when it went into foreclosure in 2006.

At the meeting, Sanandaji said he will argue that the signs do not meet any of the criteria for historical designation. If the vote doesn’t go his way, he will appeal the decision to the city council.

When asked if the city had ever fined Sloan in regards to the property’s condition, he said that when approached by city entities over the years, they have been responsive to all requests, although efforts have been time-consuming: he said that even a simple project to secure the building from trespassers and vandals and painting over graffiti took nearly nine months to receive approval.

As far as any offers from local developers to purchase the property, Sanandaji said no such offers exist.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Toyota Priuses driven by Chinese men near Mexican border

Legal immigrants say illegal taxis operating on Iris Avenue
Next Article

Holo Holo Festival showcases music of the Pacific Islands

Featured local artists include Eli-Mac and Lea Love
 “This is a 40-by-80 foot love letter to our symbiotic relationship with Mexico at one time," says Enrique Limón.
“This is a 40-by-80 foot love letter to our symbiotic relationship with Mexico at one time," says Enrique Limón.

Enrique Limón is on a mission to save the Caliente mural on the west façade of the nearly 90-year-old, decades-abandoned, California Theatre (1122 Fourth Avenue). Limón started a petition on April 22 when he caught wind of the Historical Resources Board meeting on April 28 to consider the historical designation of the mural along with two others at the same location.

The dog-racing sign on the south façade was painted in the 1960s/1970s. "It's pretty faded but can be restored. The patina is part of the history," said Coons.

Limón said on April 25, “We were hoping to have 250 signatures by Thursday, but we now have nearly 500. It’s really gaining momentum.”

Sponsored
Sponsored

Limón said about the mural, “This is a 40-by-80 foot love letter to our symbiotic relationship with Mexico at one time. Caliente was an economic and cultural boon in San Diego. It’s a tangible testament of a time before we spoke of building walls.”

The Caliente mural was unveiled in April 1956 by John Alessio of Mr. A’s fame. The “Fabulous 5-10” refers to wagering as well as to where he met his wife, who worked at Kress’ five-and-dime store. At that time, Alessio was the assistant general manager for the Caliente racetrack.

The “In Spot” sign is located on the north façade and reads “Barbary Coast, San Diego’s In Spot, Corner 4th and C.” It was painted in the 1960s/1970s for the Barbary Coast Tavern (closed in the 1970s).

Limón's mission is personal, as his maternal grandfather worked at the original Caliente resort in Mexico. It’s also a reminder of the time his mother met Elvis at the bullfights.

“I do hope that people show up Thursday and speak about what the sign means to them,” said Limón. “It’s a monumental piece of art of a time gone by with a technique that no longer exists. José Jesus Moreno is the artist that painted the roses on the letter ‘C’ in Caliente. Moreno worked for Pacific Outdoor Advertisement Company [creators of the mural]. He also painted the I-8 signs before they were standardized by the city.”

Bruce Coons, executive director of Save Our Heritage Organisation, said, “We received no formal notice. Friday evening [April 22] was the first time I saw that the signs were on the agenda online.”

Coons said that even though the California Theatre was designated on the local historic register in 1990, the signs weren’t addressed at that time.

“The Caliente sign is one of the largest signs of its type left in San Diego county,” said Coons. “The sign is important to most San Diegans. Testimony of what it means to people will be important this Thursday.

As Coons sees it, “Unlike many historical sites, the Caliente sign transports you back to a different time when crossing the border for entertainment was the norm. It was a time when our relationship with Mexico was good and San Diegans could glimpse celebrities. It tells a historical story that just isn’t possible with most other historic sites.”

Coons said if the board votes against the signs’ historical significance, he will take it to the state and national level.

“The developers have no roots in San Diego. They don’t care what the signs mean to San Diegans,” said Coons. “Three other major offers by major downtown developers have been made that want to incorporate the original elements, but their offers have been declined. The out-of-town developers acquired the property on foreclosure; they got quite a steal, and now they are trying to milk it for all it’s worth.”

The meeting to decide designation is at 1:00 p.m. on April 28 at 202 C Street. Coons said, “A strong turnout will have an impact. One can either speak or fill out a form telling what the sign means to you. It’s important to know that the murals are just the developer’s first step toward attempting to demolish the whole theater to build condos.”

Will public sentiment have any impact on the developer’s plans to demolish the signs and theater?

On April 26, Cyrus Sanandaji (principal at Sloan Capital) said, “No, preservation of the existing theater and tower is not economically feasible.” Sloan purchased the property when it went into foreclosure in 2006.

At the meeting, Sanandaji said he will argue that the signs do not meet any of the criteria for historical designation. If the vote doesn’t go his way, he will appeal the decision to the city council.

When asked if the city had ever fined Sloan in regards to the property’s condition, he said that when approached by city entities over the years, they have been responsive to all requests, although efforts have been time-consuming: he said that even a simple project to secure the building from trespassers and vandals and painting over graffiti took nearly nine months to receive approval.

As far as any offers from local developers to purchase the property, Sanandaji said no such offers exist.

Comments
Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Hot week of fishing – big bonito, big bluefin, and lots of calico bass

Rockfish have been getting a bit of a break
Next Article

The Church and The Afghan Whigs, Dog Days of Summer, Boarded: A New Pirate Adventure

Events July 11-July 13, 2024
Comments
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
Aug. 6, 2018
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox Movies@Home — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close

Anchor ads are not supported on this page.