Old Mission Hills Branch Library Threatened With Demolition

| March 2, 2020 | 0 Comments

The old Mission Hills branch library, located at 925 W. Washington Street, an iconic Mid-Century Modern building that has stood at the western gateway to Mission Hills for almost 60 years, is now threatened with demolition due to the City’s plans to over-develop the site.

Designed by architect Robert A. Bradt and built in 1960, the old branch library is an excellent example of Mid-Century Modern architecture with its shed roof, wide eaves, walls of windows and stacked brick façade. Generations of Mission Hills residents, retirees and school children can recall hours spent in this bright, cheerful public library.  This branch library is the only Mid-Century Modern-style building located in the core business district of Mission Hills and represents an important part of the layers of Mission Hills history.

The building was vacated in 2019 when the new Mission Hills-Hillcrest branch library opened several blocks away.  Mission Hills Heritage, joined by the Mission Hills Town Council, have called on the City to preserve and adaptively reuse the old Mission Hills branch library.  A majority of those responding to a survey conducted by the Mission Hills Business Improvement District last year favored saving the old branch library.  Ignoring these wishes, the mayor’s office has instead sought to massively over-develop the site, which would result in the complete loss of the old branch library.

To save the old branch library and encourage its adaptive reuse, Mission Hills Heritage filed a nomination report with the City of San Diego last August to have the building historically designated.  The designation will be decided at a monthly meeting of the City’s Historic Resources Board (HRB) this coming summer.

However, on February 13, 2020 the City’s Real Estate Assets Department, under the direction of the mayor, issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) soliciting offers to develop this and several other sites for permanent supportive housing for the homeless.  The RFP indicates that the site can be developed for between 14 to 28 housing units.  Any development in this range on the .19 acre site, which is only slightly larger than the average residential lot in Mission Hills, would necessary require the demolition of the existing building.  MHH is not opposed to permanent supportive housing at this site, but we are opposed to any project that would demolish the building.  Councilmember Chris Ward has objected to the mayor’s plan and requested that the mayor consider other available sites better suited to such housing, but to no avail. We urge the mayor to withdraw the RFP and instead focus on adapt reuse of the old Mission Hills branch library.

What can you do to stop this reckless demolition?  Call Mayor Kevin Faulconer at (619) 236-6330 or email at kevinfaulconer@sandiego.gov and tell him to withdraw the RFP.

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Category: Education, feature, Government, Local News, Real Estate

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