A blaze that gutted Red Rest and damaged Red Roost, two historic turn-of-the-century beach cottages overlooking La Jolla Cove, remains undetermined.
“At about 1.40 a.m. Monday, Oct. 26, San Diego Fire-Rescue dispatchers received calls about a fire in the 1100 block of Coast Boulevard,” said SDFR spokesperson Monica Munoz. “SDFD crews arrived within about six minutes and found a residential structure fully engulfed in flames and smoke. This residence had been boarded up for many years.”
Added Munoz: “Firefighters were forced to fight the fire from the exterior because it had fully engulfed the home. There are residences and other structures nearby, but the aggressive efforts by our crews prevented the fire from spreading. The fire was knocked down at 2:20 a.m. SDFD metro arson strike team investigators responded and have ruled the cause of the fire ‘undetermined’ at this time. The estimated damage to the home is $175,000.”
One firefighter at the cottages suffered a minor, non-burn injury that did not require hospitalization.
Built in 1894, the Red Roost and Red Rest cottages are rare surviving examples of late 19th-century beach architecture that proliferated in La Jolla during its early history. Both deteriorating structures have been placed on the “Most Endangered List” by Save Our Heritage Organisation, the state’s oldest continually operating historic preservation organization.
SOHO has noted that the cottages “tell the story of the history and origin of La Jolla like nothing else,” adding that the design of the cottages was a “precursor to the California bungalow popularized after the turn of the 20th century.”
Pointing out there is a San Diego ordinance that prohibits “demolition by neglect” of historically designated properties, SOHO has brought pressure to bear previously to “maintain the cottages and prevent their continued decline” as well as to “take action to prevent the loss of these landmarks.”
Numerous plans for redeveloping the cottages as a museum, or even as a bed and breakfast operation, have been proposed over the years but never materialized. In 2008, a proposed deal that would have reconfigured the two California bungalow-style cottages at 1179 and 1187 Coast Blvd. along with a large chunk of La Jolla's downtown Village, including La Valencia Hotel, fell through due to the world economic downturn.
The redevelopment deal that “almost was” involved Cove Properties, La Valencia Hotel, and Emar Development of Dubai. The real estate proposal called for building a new hotel on the La Jolla Cove Suite site and putting in high-end residential condos that would have been tied in with the hotel with an entrance off Prospect with new retail.
Under that proposed deal, which fell through, La Jolla Cove Suites would have become condominium homes tied in with amenities associated with La Valencia, which then would have been turned into a five-star hotel.