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Permit process starts for Red Rest and Red Roost cottage restoration

La Jolla's Red Rest cottage burned in a fire in October 2020.
(K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

As the first anniversary looms of the fire that destroyed La Jolla’s historic Red Rest cottage and damaged the adjacent Red Roost cottage, plans are underway to restore the beachside bungalows.

The cottages, considered The Village’s oldest structures, were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

San Diego city spokesman Scott Robinson said preliminary plans for the cottages’ reconstruction/rehabilitation and relocation onsite had been submitted by the property owners.

From here, the city will review the plans and provide comments. After the owners have received and accepted the comments, they will have 30 days to apply for a site development permit for historical resources and a coastal development permit.

When that time comes, the plans also will be subject to review by local planning groups.

The Red Roost and Red Rest cottages are pictured three days after a fire destroyed the Red Rest on Oct. 26.
(K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The Red Rest and Red Roost, built in 1894 for George Leovy and Dr. Joseph Fishburn, respectively, have stood at 1187 and 1179 Coast Blvd. virtually unmaintained for three decades in what preservationists have called “demolition by neglect.”

The property and the adjacent La Jolla Cove Suites were sold in 2018 to a group of investors in the hotel business.

Early Oct. 26, Red Rest burned down and Red Roost was damaged. At the time of the fire, the cottages were uninhabited and covered by protective tarps. The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department’s Metro Arson Strike Team investigators called the cause of the blaze “undetermined.” The estimated damage to the structures was $175,000.

A week after the fire, city historical resources and code enforcement staff and a building inspector visited the site to assess the damage, San Diego senior planner Suzanne Segur said.

In December, a civil penalty notice was issued that required the owners to submit an application to stabilize the structures before performing any restoration work and to “obtain all required permits for work to come into compliance with all the historic resources regulations,” Segur said. ◆