Bob Hong writes:
“Thank you for calling attention in (Sunday’s) column on the plight of the three hotels in downtown /Stockton. I am one the members of SOS (Save Old Stockton) that sued the city to stop the demolition of the 7 hotels and also a member of the board of Save Downtown Stockton Foundation. I am not a die-hard preservationist and realize that unless something is done within the next several years these hotels will go the way of the Earle Hotel.
“I saw those hotels when they were part of the Block 5 project and again last week with the city staff. They have deteriorated in the interval, but they have fabulous facades and fine bones still. They represent the pride and aspirations of our city’s past and need to be saved if possible. All I want from the city is to act in good faith with potential developers who are willing to take a risk. They city is in bankruptcy but there in-kind contributions that any developer would look for in this kind of project.
“Before we call in the wrecking ball I suggest we look at what a private developer is doing with the Hotel Terry. I also heard that the Owl Hotel has been sold. So there is interest from the private sector. The city has a miserable record of neglect and needs to come on board.”
Hong and SOS were right to block the demolition of those hotels pending a good-faith attempt to restore and repurpose them. That attempt has now largely been made, though. I fear further developer tours will only yield more of the same proclamations from developers that the buildings are too far gone. I hope I’m wrong, of course. Let’s hope the Hotel Terry succeeds and inspires other developers.