First published in the Jan. 20 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.
The City Council is inching forward on discussions of a proposed renovation project for the San Marino Center, which might result in breaking ground as soon as Sept. 1.
The City Council voted 3-2 at its Jan. 12 meeting in favor of directing city staff to work on a contract revision that would be on the agenda on the council’s next meeting changing the scope of the proposed project from a Spanish Revival style to its current Modern Colonial Revival style.
Based on the response to preliminary environmental drawings, the city believes the project has a better chance if construction enhances its current design instead of the Spanish style that was previously favored, given its compatibility with the Crowell Public Library, which sits next door.
Mayor Susan Jakubowski, Vice Mayor Steve Talt and council member Ken Ude provided the yes votes while council members Gretchen Shepherd Romey and Dr. Steven Huang dissented.
The council will now vote on a proposed contract amendment to Crane Architectural Group, the project’s architect, at their next meeting and order revised drawings.
On March 1, a draft environmental impact report would be presented to the public for review and will be available until March 31, based on the city’s projected schedule. The public’s written responses to the EIR would then be completed by May 1 and in late May revised project drawings will be completed. At the city council’s meeting on June 8, the final EIR will be certified and the project will be put out for bid.
If all goes according to schedule, at the July 28 meeting the project will be awarded to the successful bidders, with groundbreaking on the project slated for Sept. 1. The last estimate received by the city in late 2020 indicated a cost of about $4 million, which would be paid for out of the city’s capital reserves fund.
The work will involve redesigning much of the interior, bringing the structure up to code and aesthetically modifying the exterior. A locally assembled task force, which was seated with the specific purpose of researching the project, met recently and unanimously supported the amended project.
Plans for the project from the Crane Architectural Group are 95% complete. The city has spent approximately $420,000 on the project on designs as well as site studies, including a lead and asbestos survey.
Construction was completed in April 1952 on what at the time was the Woman’s Club, which held its first meeting in the new clubhouse that month. In 2005, the building was sold to the city and renamed the San Marino Center.
In its current layout, the building can accommodate as many as 300 people and is available to rent for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and other special events. The facility has three main rooms: an auditorium, dining room and the Fireside Room, which is used for smaller events and meetings. The facility also includes an industrial kitchen.
San Marino City Club holds most of its meetings in the San Marino Center, and the building is also used for a weekly bridge game. The San Marino Chamber of Commerce also keeps an office on the premises.