The preservation effort was spearheaded by Obecians and Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO), a private, nonprofit historical preservation group formed in 1969.
With two members absent, it was La Jolla attorney and HRB board member Courtney Coyle’s motion in favor of historically designating the Nati’s property that was defeated.
Coyle’s motion: “… that 1852-1866 Bacon St. be designated as resource that exemplifies a special element of OB's economic, aesthetic, and social development, with a period of significance of 1955-2018. … The resource also reflects OB's aesthetic development, illustrated by the artistic arrangement of contemporary style features such as double slant roofs, practical use of materials, and design intent … with the quirky charm and pedestrian scale associated with OB. The resource reflects the social development of OB as a landmark resource on a prominent and busy corner, relevant both for meet-ups with friends and also as a way finding feature when giving directions. Despite alterations, the resource has sufficient integrity to convey these special elements of OB's development.”
HRB staff had recommended against designating the one-story Nati’s commercial building on the corner of Bacon Street and Niagara Avenue as historically significant and part of a constraints analysis for future development.
“The subject property buildings have undergone numerous alterations since their original 1955 construction,” summarized the HRB staff report. “In 1956 ramadas were added to the northeast elevation of the southwestern building … Other modifications to the building include the addition of a 1956 showroom … the addition of an attached storage shed … the addition of a wood and brick patio … and the removal of the original stylized signage and replacement with a new sign of a differing design (post-1966).”
The HRB report concluded Nati’s building’s contemporary style “was ubiquitous in San Diego during the 1950s and 1960s as a style for commercial buildings and streetscapes.”
“It’s unfortunate,” said Amie K. Hayes, history resources specialist for SOHO of HRB’s decision not to designate Nati’s as historical adding, “There isn’t an appeal for (historical) non-designation.”
Hayes pointed out, however, that “we don’t know that demolition (by new owners) is the goal, so it is possible the building may still be around.”
Hayes characterized Nati’s as being “an iconic structure in OB. It is unfair that it wasn’t designated.”
Rumored to be interested in acquiring the former Nati’s OB parcel, the owner of Pop Pie Co. in University Heights at 4404 Park Blvd. would neither confirm nor deny interest in the property, saying only that a press release would be issued soon on the matter.