Balboa Park’s Most Photographed Spot Looks Very Different – NBC 7 San Diego


There’s been a lot of people standing on their tiptoes and peering through a covered fence in Balboa Park lately, for good reason: visitors are trying to get a glimpse of one of the most park landmark, the Botanical Building, as it undergoes renovations.

The structure, now more than a century old, was closed to the public in early 2022, but not everyone keen to see its splendor was alerted.

“We came here to see it, and now it’s not open, so it’s a bit of a disappointment,” Arizona resident Tom Shaw said this week.

He is not alone.

It only takes a few minutes in front of the building to catch one, two or three curious people peeling off the green mesh of the fence to see what happened to the building.

According to a San Diego city official, the renovation is now in Phase 1 of a two-part project, led by the city’s Department of Engineering and Capital Projects. In a statement sent to NBC 7, officials said this phase will include “structural improvements, reconstruction of historic window arches, expansion of walkways to allow better access for all users, two new building additions from the north side and interior plantations”.

Tractors are now busy beeping, crushing and dumping debris where thousands of plants were exposed. Most of them have been replanted throughout the park, while others have been moved to an offsite nursery. Some larger ones, however, remain protected on site.

Much of the building needed attention as water damage and corrosion took their course over the years. A big question on the minds of visitors; Is that ok see different?

A rendering of the renovation to be completed. Image courtesy of the City of San Diego.

“There will be several significant aesthetic changes that visitors may notice once the project is complete,” according to the statement sent to NBC 7. “The trellis will be replaced with new redwood, which will restore the natural red color of the roof. The lower portions of the trellis will be removed and replaced with large arches of stucco windows that were part of the original 1915 design before being removed in the 1950s. two new small buildings additions on the north side and restoration of the north entrance.

The budget for the first phase of the project is $21,453,000, according to the city, which is a mix of public funds, capital expenditures, regional park improvements and commercial paper.

The first phase of the project is expected to be completed by December 2023. The second phase, which includes landscaping and irrigation among others, does not yet have a schedule.


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