Historic La Jolla buildings may have a new home

By Dave Schwab

Staff Writer

As the face of Cave Street has changed over the years, its historic homes have been edged out by condos, high-rises and parking lots.

But this time, as the Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist moves to expand its existing parking lot, a historic home and guest cottage property at 1261-1263 Cave St. stand to get a reprieve.

Allison-Zongker, the long-term lessees of the property, have bought a home at 2503 Ardath Road and are making plans to demolish it and put the Victorian Stick-style house and Craftsman cottage there instead. They’ve been working on behalf of the church since 2001 to find a spot for the buildings.

Architect Jeffrey Shorn and attorney Marie Burke Lia, discussing the plans at a recent La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee meeting, ran into some opposition. Ardath Road residents said they were concerned about access, setbacks and the potential for the homes being leased out, although developers assured them that the property would not be leased, so committee members asked that more details be provided at their next meeting.

“God knows how many hundreds of cottages in La Jolla have been lost,” Shorn said. “We have to try and keep what we can of the ambience, and cottages like these are what this town is - or was - about.”

La Jolla Historical Society historian Carol Olten said the Cave Street cottage has a long history and is named for La Crosse, Wis., the hometown of Henry Hier, who bought the cottage in 1907.

“This is a landmark cottage in La Jolla,” Olten said. “The main house dates back to 1900.”

Olten said Allison-Zongker recently told the historical society’s preservation committee of plans to move the cottage, but noted that the committee has not voted to approve or disapprove of the action.

Burke Mia said Allison-Zongker wants to save the La Crosse structures because “there is no nonprofit or independent private property owner option to implement this project. ... As experienced developers, (they) have the capability of implementing this relocation and rehabilitation project in a manner that will produce a lovely single-family home with a guest house and garage.”

After that, she added, the property can be sold “as a single-family home for an amount that will yield them a return on this investment” and the Village will have more parking and historic resources will be preserved - “without any cost to the taxpayers.”