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Plans Filed With City To Remodel Cora Mart Building

This article, written by David Axelson, was originally published on February 8, 2019 in Coronado Eagle & Journal.

Architectural plans were filed with the City of Coronado recently by the firm of mcg architecture based in Irvine on behalf of the landlord, the Barob Group. Once plans are filed with the city, they are a matter of public record. City of Coronado Senior Planner Jesse Brown said the Cora Mart building would remain in place and the plans for the exterior as submitted, “Were trying to bring elements of both existing buildings together to the overall project.”

Vons in its current configuration is 18,221 square feet and the proposed Cora Mart addition is 5,550 square feet, which includes a small basement for storage. The floor design includes a small Starbucks kiosk near the Orange Avenue entrance, a bakery, freezers and a dairy in the new expanded area.

One possible area of concern is there is a total of 175 feet of mostly uninterrupted building frontage on Orange Avenue, which would seem to project the appearance of mass in the heart of Downtown Coronado.

The Barob Group, owners of the Cora Mart Building, is comprised of seven distinct entities. The entities and the percentages they own include: Barob Group, Ltd.-33.333 percent; Barcon Limited Partnership–33.333 percent; Britton Family Trust–11.111 percent; David C. Newman Irrevocable Trust–5.5556 percent; Joy Ann Newman Revocable Trust–5.556 percent; Cara Wasden Irrevocable Trust–5.556 percent; and the Wasden Family Revocable Trust-5.556 percent.

July 18, 2018, the collective group received the determination from Coronado’s Historic Resource Commission that the Cora Mart Building was non-historic, which means the building could be torn down and rebuilt. According to Jesse Brown that was the beginning of the regulatory process for the project. The next step is the determination by the city staff if the application for the re-design is complete. Then in approximately four weeks, the project will be presented to the City’s Design Review Commission. In an additional four to six weeks, the project will be reviewed by the city’s Planning Commission, which comes into play because the project is an expansion of a formula business in excess of 500 square feet.

From a historic perspective, it’s appropriate the Cora Mart building will once again become a grocery store, as it started in 1938 as an A&P Grocery Store owned by Louis Godbout. It operated as Cora Mart from 1965-1996, a large-scale sundries store, carrying items like thread, cloth, poster board for kids’ school projects, and basically anything small you needed to find, often while in a hurry to complete a project. It was basically Amazon.com minus the books and heavy appliances.