Palm Springs
62° F
Clear
Clear

Rancho Mirage to vote, salvage or demolish old Chart House

By Laura Yanez, News Reporter, Laura.Yanez@cbslocal2.com
Published On: Feb 06 2013 03:44:49 AM CST
Updated On: Feb 06 2013 03:59:12 AM CST
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -

"People know where we are because of that charred building," said Michael Silver.   

Silver, an exhibitor at Victoria's Attic Antiques in Rancho Mirage, is talking about the store's historic neighbor, the old Chart House. It’s a smoked-out piece of architecture that’s been sitting as an eyesore along Highway 111 for more than a year.

"One good tremor would bring the whole place down. It's just cinders. I don't know if the termites are holding hands, keeping it together," said Silver.

The Rancho Mirage City Council will have a final meeting on Thursday to decide the fate of the old Chart House, which was damaged in a fire in January 2012.

"The city council is going to be asked to consider adopting a resolution to authorize demolition of the former Chart House," said Rancho Mirage City Attorney Steven Quintanilla.

Quintanilla says there have been several delays in the process. First, an arson and insurance investigation that's still ongoing, then, the Palm Springs Modern Committee appealed property owner John Wessman’s granted demolition permit.

The city attorney then discovered a similar case when a historic home that was damaged in an earthquake was torn down by the city of Palo Alto.

"It was the exact situation. Based on that, it is my legal opinion that the city can issue a demolition permit," said Quintanilla.

Like many neighbors, Quintanilla says he'd be sad to see the building go, but it's a matter of safety.

“From a safety perspective, it needs to be removed based on the fire department. The city council would love to rebuild it but it does not have the legal authority to rebuild it."

Shop owner Victoria Routh says whatever the decision, it’s time the fences surrounding the historic landmark need to come down.

"It would be nice to see something similar there," said Routh.

"I think it was great, it was worthy of landmark status. The fact that it's gone, you can't bring it back," said Silver.

With hopes a new building would bring good fortune to nearby businesses, Routh says "Somebody would go there and hopefully come here and shop."

The city council meeting begins at 1 p.m. on Thursday at city hall 69825 California 111, Rancho Mirage.