In 1888, San Diego’s Hotel del Coronado was an architectural masterpiece, acclaimed for its modern amenities. With its one-of-a-kind silhouette—once compared to a cross between an ornate wedding cake and well-trimmed ship—the resort was known throughout the country and around the world.

Constructed before San Diego had the materials or manpower to support such an effort, everything had to be imported or manufactured on site. Architects were brought in from the Midwest; lumber and labor came from the Northwest; there was a lumber mill, foundry, and electrical power plant on hotel property. Despite these challenges, the hotel was opened after just 11 months of construction.

The Del showcased a lot of modern technology: it was lighted by electricity (the hotel was one of the largest buildings in the country to have electric lights at the time); there were telephones (although not in the guests’ rooms); there were elevators and numerous private bathrooms. There was also a fire alarm system and state-of-the-art firefighting equipment.

And then, on Thanksgiving Day 1892, a 24-year-old woman, Kate Morgan, checked into Hotel del Coronado and five days later her body was found on a hotel exterior staircase. The newspapers referred to her as the “Beautiful Stranger.” Today, tours are arranged so visitors can learn why she, and other spirits, haunt the hotel and provide ghostly guest encounters.

Not wanting to disturb these spirits, the Del has embarked on a $200 million remodeling program—which it calls its reimagination—in 2019 that will improve the property without changing its character—or the characters that haunt it. The multi-phase development will include the preservation of buildings that date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s including the Power Plant, a facility that once provided power to the entire island of Coronado.

The majority of the parking will be provided by two underground parking structures totaling 1,179 parking spaces. The initial 212,000-sq.ft., 729-stall cast-in-place parking structure has two levels below grade and a surface lot at grade. Work also features a C0Gen Facility, which includes major structural concrete demo, with three access points below grade into the parking structure. Swinerton of San Diego is the contractor.

The project had 80,000 cubic yards of export. This equates to over 5,700 trucks, along with 18,745 cubic yards of concrete for structure construction, which is 1,923 loads of concrete. This amount of trucking—coupled with the balance of material deliveries—was challenging due to the high vehicle traffic into Coronado. There are only two access points to the island—one over the Coronado Bay Bridge and the other from the south up Silver Strand.

The unique location presents several site challenges including working around resort functions so day-to-day operations are not impacted. All material deliveries and concrete placing activities are closely coordinated. Since the site crane is located directly adjacent to Naval Air Station North Island’s final approach, daily coordination calls to the base for hoisting activities are required.

The guest parking experience will be enhanced with the installation of groundbreaking parking guidance technology. EnSight Technologies’ cutting-edge parking guidance technology has been selected to help patrons find parking quickly and conveniently. The garage under construction will provide over 700 parking spaces on three levels. The EnSight Parking Guidance EcoSystem will guide guests and visitors to the best available areas for parking and reducing the time searching for available parking.

The parking guidance system will feature intelligent cameras located at the main entries and level changes to monitor incoming and outgoing traffic and relay that information to dynamic LED signage. The signs will provide real-time occupancy information throughout the facility to help guests find a parking space. The system is part of a larger parking technology platform that will also incorporate 4 lanes of TIBA’s Parking Access and Revenue control (PARCS) equipment which will be deployed by Access Professional Systems of San Diego.

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