The Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant in historic Old Town San Diego has received three awards this year for its $6.5 million rehabilitation and historic preservation—an effort that brought back this most important historic resource, making it once again a viable part of San Diego culture and society: The SOHO 2011 People in Preservation Award, a 2011 Preservation Design Award, presented by the California Preservation Foundation and a Governor’s Historic Preservation Award.The juries in all three awards were impressed with the level of detail and care that went into the complete restoration of the hotel and restaurant, the intensive research and documentation, and the accuracy of bringing the property back to its original appearance as the 1869 Cosmopolitan Hotel. The restoration was completed by a team of over 60 professionals lead by Heritage Architecture & Planning under the direction of California State Parks.
The Save Our Heritage Organization (SOHO) 2011 People in Preservation Award. The jury noted the extensive preservation and reuse of original historic fabric, together with the use of traditional tools and materials; and the number of people involved, including historians, architects, state employees, contractors, artists, and other specialists.
Also noted was the intensive research and documentation, the below- and above-ground archeology, and the overall forensics that took place for the 185-year-old building.
2011 Preservation Design Award is in the “commercial restoration” category. Juror comments: The Cosmopolitan shows a true commitment to preservation, displays extensive research and a tremendous amount of work and detail. It is a project that accurately depicts the property as it appeared in its time. The California Preservation Foundation is California’s only statewide non-profit organization, promoting historic preservation, founded in 1977.
The Governor’s Historic Preservation Award is the only official preservation award presented by the State of California to worthy recipients in recognition of outstanding achievements in the field of historic preservation.
After a $6.5 million dollar rehabilitation and restoration the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant—the oldest surviving hotel in San Diego— has been returned to its historic appearance as the 1869 Cosmopolitan Hotel, fulfilling a 50-year goal of historians and many San Diegans to restore the 19th-century landmark and recapture one of San Diego’s most important architectural treasures. The restoration was completed in July 2010.
The Cosmo is one of the most important 19th-century buildings in the state and one of the most important restorations ever done in San Diego because there was so much original fabric still there including trim, doors and windows. State historian Victor Walsh believes that the renovation of the Cosmopolitan is an unprecedented historic restoration; few other buildings in the state rival its scale (over 10,000 sq. ft.), blending 19th-century Mexican adobe and American wood-framing construction techniques.
Originally constructed as the home of San Diego pioneer and early settler Juan Bandini between 1827 and 1829, the building was later adapted and converted into a hotel, apartment building, olive factory, and restaurant. It is not only a rarity because of its long history, but it has also been associated with some of California’s most important people and events, and its distinctive architectural character helps tell the story of the birthplace of California.