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Plans to Return Spreckels Mansion to Its Pre-1911 Design Put on Hold

The owners have decided to postpose a quest to replace the mansion's tiled roof with a flat one.

have been put on hold, so the historic residence's familiar tiled roof will remain.

“At this stage it doesn’t look like anyone is willing to fight for it,” Realtor Scott Aurich said.

He represents an investment group that has a deal to buy the mansion from pharmaceuticals mogul Jonah Shacknai. The Arizona resident sought buyers following .

Investigators found that Zahau killed herself July 13, two days after a fall left Shacknai's son with severe head injuries. The boy, 6, fell from a staircase landing in the mansion; Zahau, 32, was found nude, and bound hand and foot, in a rear courtyard. 

Max died three days after Zahau.

Earlier this year, , speaking to the city's Historic Resources Commission and San Diego's Save Our Heritage Organization to gauge reaction to the plan.

He argued that the best course for new owners would be to change the home, one of Coronado's landmark properties, to help shift attention away from the tragedies that happened there in 2011.

The response ranged from tepid support to all-out opposition, though Doug St. Denis, a former commission member, called it “an intriguing idea.” 

The Spreckels mansion is designated as a historic home and owners receive a tax break to maintain it. Architecture buffs and preservationists admire Albright's work, but from a community standpoint the red-tile roof, though radically different from Albright's design, could have historic value because it's been in place so long. 

“For 100 years we’ve looked at this house with that roofline,” said Susan Keith, a member of the Coronado Historical Association's board.

The tile roof was added in 1911 when the house was remodeled shortly after its construction. The original looked a good deal like the nearby Gloretta Bay Inn, the home of John D. Spreckels, who was instrumental in shaping San Diego. He gave the oceanfront property to his son.

The extensive restoration at the mansion continues despite the decision to wait on seeking a return to Albright's design, Aurich said. Tiles have been removed and placed on pallets while the roof is being repaired.

Shacknai had fought a lengthy battle with neighbors and the city to alter the home – including installing French doors – and had secured permission just two months before he suffered the losses of his son and girlfriend.

The project, Aurich said, “includes, for now, remodeling the interior, repairing damaged windows and the tiled roof, but does not include replacing the windows with French doors.” 

Lulu April 24, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Change continues.
Red Cups in the Sunset April 24, 2012 at 03:37 AM
Personally, if it were mine, I'd want the roof top terrace. And the French doors.
Interested April 24, 2012 at 05:14 PM
I'm going to guess that there were never approvals for any changes and the new owners (tongue in cheek) just bulldozed through the process thumbing their collective noses until they were stopped. The contractor, realtor, et al, will be highly regarded for future assignments (high sarcasm).
The Truth Hurts August 02, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Rebecca tried to ruin the authenticity of the home and its value by her bizarre suicide, but history lives on.

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