Vallejo’s former veterans building may see new life as event venue

by John Glidden | Sept. 12, 2020

Vallejo may soon have a new venue for weddings, quinceaneras, and other events as the city’s landmarks commission will be asked Thursday to approve interior and exterior alterations to the Veteran’s Memorial Hall – giving new life to a building long closed to the public.

The seven-person Architectural Heritage and Landmarks Commission (AHLC) will review a certificate of appropriateness to convert the 90-year-old city landmark into a private event venue, called The Armada.

Plans also include adding office space and artist studios to the three-story building located at the corner of Alabama and Marin streets.

AHLC approval is required since the building was designated as a city landmark. However, alterations to the building won’t begin until the project receives additional approvals from the city’s planning commission.

That commission is tentatively scheduled to review the application on Sept. 21.

The applicant, Cuauhtemoc Corona, currently operates several other venues in San Jose (Corinthian Grand Ballroom; The GlassHouse); Tyler, Texas (The Villas), and Mansion54 in Las Vegas.

Events will be held on the top floor, the building’s largest meeting room. Hours of operations are proposed for 6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., Fridays and Saturdays. Beer and food would be served during events.

Conversion of the building will not require replacement of any historic features of the building, as exterior repairs of the property will only include painting and removal of rust, among others, according to a city staff report to commissioners.

The applicant is also proposing the removal of meeting rooms and lockers on the second floor to create a “co-working” office space and two new restrooms; conversion of third floor balcony to a lounge; accessibility and safety upgrades including new elevator, restroom remodeling, glass safety panels along handrails and guardrails; relocation of existing bar; new food preparation room; adding an artist space in the basement; new glass front doors to comply with building and fire codes; and new wheelchair lift from parking lot to front entry landing to comply with accessibility requirements, among others.

Originally built in the late 1920s to honor World War I veterans, the building held various military and community events, playing host to Jazz greats Ella Fitzgerald and Fats Waller in the 1940s.

The building has been closed to the public and veterans groups for over 15 years. The building was eventually abandoned due to structural issues following years of neglect.

Online real estate records show the building sold for $750,000 in March 2019.

Vallejo’s veterans groups eventually moved to a new hall at 420 Admiral Callaghan Lane.

The Vallejo Architectural Heritage and Landmarks Commission will meet via teleconference, starting at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 17.

Members of the general public can provide comment via ZOOM (https://zoom.us/j/91400750676), or by phone, by dialing (669) 900-6833. For additional
instructions, visit http://www.cityofvallejo.net/publiccomment.

The meeting can be viewed by watching Vallejo local channel 28; stream from the city of Vallejo’s website: http://www.cityofvallejo.net/Streaming; join the Zoom webinar: https://zoom.us/j/91400750676

Published by John Glidden

John Glidden is a freelance journalist reporting on the city of Vallejo. The native Vallejoan also covers the local school district, Vallejo elections, and public safety.

One thought on “Vallejo’s former veterans building may see new life as event venue

  1. This lovely old building is in my neighborhood. People have always worried about parking needs. ENTER: shared parking. Agreements to use nearby parking lots when in less use. However, NOW is an interesting time to be planning for an EVENT center…

    Like

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