Friday, May 21, 2010
GLORIA PENNER: Old Town Historic State Park is one of the most popular local tourist attractions. But for the past six years, the historic Casa de Bandini and the Cosmopolitan Hotel have been closed to the public for a multi-million dollar restoration. Producer Elsa Sevilla brings us up to date as the project comes to an end.
BRUCE COONS: This is the main entrance, the original main entrace, and it has what they call faux finishing.
ELSA SEVILLA: There's much excitement surrounding the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town. The near seven million dollar, six-year restoration is just about complete. Our cameras are the first to go inside. Bruce Coons of SOHO was the historic restoration consultant on the project.
COONS: We didn't know what we were going to find when we started pulling off all the concrete, cause sometimes they take all that stuff off, and there was new trim on the outside. But all the old trim was underneath there.
SEVILLA: The building is unique. The Bandini house is adobe, built in 1827. The Cosmopolitan Hotel was added 40 years later. While much of the building is original, it was critical to retrofit the 180-year-old adobe. David Marshall was the chief architect.
DAVIS MARSHALL: This steel strap you see here, actually, it stitches the building together in the corners, this is part of the seismic retrofit.
SEVILLA: The historic Casa de Bandini was for many years, and will continue to be, a restaurant and bar. And for the first time, the Cosmopolitan has been returned into the original hotel, with 10 rooms for guests, and all antique furnishings.
COONS: It's fantastic. You know, all of us that worked on the project, we've all worked on major projects including some of the missions, and many fabulous sites. But this is one of the most important buildings in the state.
SEVILLA: It's a restoration project that will certainly allow San Diegans and visitors to enjoy the Casa and Hotel for a very long time. It will open to the public in mid-June.
Editor's Note: The name Casa de Bandini used in tonight’s news story refers to a historic adobe located in San Diego’s Old Town. Casa de Bandini Restaurant is a registered trademark of Diane Powers.