North Chapel not to become restaurant, will continue as wedding venue
Published - 01/30/19 - 11:05 AM | 5072 views | 6 6 comments | 59 59 recommendations | email to a friend | print
North Chapel in Liberty Station. / Photo by Thomas Melville
North Chapel in Liberty Station. / Photo by Thomas Melville
Representatives of the new management group operating North Chapel in Liberty Station said the historic building will not be converted into a restaurant. 

At the Jan. 17 Peninsula Community Planning Board meeting, Joe Haeussler from Pendulum Property Partners, along with Ashleigh Glod and Victoria LaHood from 828 Venue Management, fielded audience questions about North Chapel.

Under “cross-examination” by audience members, they admitted their companies did initially advertise the chapel for multiple uses, including restaurant space. But they added that was done to test the market to see what potential users might possibly be interested in utilizing the facility once it’s repurposed.

There were numerous questions from Peninsulans regarding what uses would be acceptable to 828 Venue for the chapel, which until recently had been leased out to two Catholic congregations on Sundays. 

One audience member presented a photograph of another facility run by 828 Venue. It showed an open room, which led some other residents present at the meeting to speculate on whether North Chapel’s pews would be replaced during its upcoming refit, and if the historicity of the structure would be respected.

New ownership reps reiterated that the chapel is designed “to have multiple denominations worship there on Sundays.” The 828 Venue reps pointed out they have long experience in hosting weddings adding the chapel “is a pretty good fit.”

“We currently operate eight (wedding) venues in six different states,” said Glod of 828 Venue.

Wedding planner LaHood said the chapel would be repurposed to host numerous wedding and corporate events throughout the year.

“There is no formal plan yet that has been submitted to the City or approved,” pointed out Haeussler of Pendulum, adding, “We plan to respect the historicity of building. We’ll be back (to PCPB) later (with more details).”

“I’m appalled by the way this community has been treated on this issue the last six months,” said PCPB board member Don Sevrens, who noted the precise plan governing Liberty Station spells out what uses are allowable in the chapel.

“Many people who served this country went to the chapel as a place of worship,” pointed out PCPB board member Fred Kosmo. “It’s important that it stay as a chapel.”

Noting the two Catholic groups that had been using the chapel have had their leases terminated, Kosmo asked, “What happens to them?”

“We did offer them a renewal,” answered Haeussler.

Ron Slayen, a tenant in Liberty Station’s Arts District, pressed Pendulum and 828 Venue on whether chapel pews could or would be removed.

“There are no plans approved by the City,” responded Haeussler.

Elaine Boland, widow of late Rear Admiral Bruce Boland, testified that, “North Chapel will (soon) be 100 years old. It’s an integral part of our Naval history. It was a place of worship for thousands of Naval personnel who served. It was intended to be a place for worship, prayer and peace. It will lose its identity if you remove the pews.”

Both San Diego City Council President Pro Tem Barbara Bry, and San Diego Congressman Scott Peters, have called upon the City to investigate proposed alteration of North Chapel for non-religious uses.

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Henry Garon
January 31, 2019
This story gets so many things wrong about what happened at the Point Loma planning board. 1) Pendulums rep Haeussler claimed several times (wrongly) that the NTC precise plan and the Guideline for Treatment of Historic Properties would allow for ANY commercial use of the property. 2) 828 Venue offers event spaces for lease for any purpose, not just weddings. You can host a party or corporate event or whatever. 3) The North Chapel was ALREADY available for weddings, and has been used for years. Although they won't admit it, the developers are making plans to tear out the pews so that they can have parties in the building as well as weddings. 4) The congregations currently using the chapel were offered a renewal IF they supported the developer's plans to destroy the interior of the chapel. They did not accept this offer because they felt that this was against the original intent expressed in the deed when the property was donated to the CITY: that the chapel be used in perpetuity by the public for its original purpose.

The North Chapel was built in 1942 in honor of those US navy who perished at Pearl Harbor. It has always been, and continues to be a non-denominational Chapel. Sailors of every faith who trained at NTC went to their last services at the North Chapel before going to serve their country in battle. Is it asking too much to let the Chapel remain a chapel, and not to have the interior gutted so that it can become a party headquarters?
Karen S.
January 13, 2020
Ron Slayen
January 30, 2019
Mr Page

I must respectfully disagree with you. What was rude and has been rude for the past year is Mr Haeussler's (former COO and Exec VP of the McMillin Companies) refusal to tell the truth: that they have every intention of removing the pews and other historically protected interior elements from the North Chapel in opposition to the positions taken by Congressman Scott Peters, Mayor Faulkoner, Councilwoman Bry, the PCPB and the legal Memorandum written by the SD City Attorney.

Geoff Page
January 31, 2019
Mr. Slayen,

There is a difference between operating in bad faith, as McMillin has always done, and a lack of common decency and decorum. The problem is with McMillin and was not with the three people who came to the PCPB voluntarily for an Information Item. There are ways of expressing displeasure without resorting to personal attacks, which was what Sevrens' comment was.
Geoff Page
January 30, 2019
The article failed to quote board member Sevrens' incredibly rude comment when he said - twice - that he would not buy a used car from the presenters while looking right at them. Not the way a planning board member should be treating guests at a board meeting.
Arlene Paraiso
January 30, 2019
They also failed to mention that both of the congregations that rented there were offered the ability to continue to rent ONLY if they did not oppose the upcoming interior changes and construction. Neither of the congregations, including mine, would agree to sell out.

When I asked why both congregations were dropped as soon as they backed up the Memorandum from Erik Caldwell that called for not removing any historic resource including the pews, altar, choir loft, stained glass windows, organ and more.

Rumor has it, that they have plans to remove the pews and change out the stained glass windows. They are not preserving the North Chapel. We fear they will change it into a 'blank canvas' per usual for other event sites.

Neither Joe Haeussler from Pendulum Property Partners, along with Ashleigh Glod and Victoria LaHood from 828 Venue Management gave any of us there, comfort that the North Chapel, whose name they have already changed to simply 'Chapel' will retain any of it's historicity.

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