This Neoclassical commercial building is a very significant historic monument in San Diego. It marks the momentous contribution of Simon Levi as one of the pioneers in wholesale merchandize industry in California. Also, this building is a valuable architectural asset with pleasing proportions and color combinations, and shows a high level of craftsmanship for the time period it was built.

This project involved the restoration of the Entrance of the structure and the decorative elements of the East Façade of the 1927 Simon Levi Company building. It also entailed the replication of the non-surviving architectural elements; i.e., niches, light fixture, coffered beams, and entry wrought iron gate. When this project started these architectural elements were already removed and stolen.

The project was comprised of two phases:



After removing samples of paint and mortar from different locations of the façade, and after the removal of the new sign, RARA discovered that the previously damaged casted ornamentation was repaired when the building belonged to KVAAS Construction Company. Inappropriate repairs were discovered, particularly on the capitals, ropes, and floral decoration. The original layer of paint and color, as well as the original mortar used in 1927, were discovered and matched.

The project included:

  1. Restoration of the Entrance, including the architectural plaster (casted) elements of the entry space and the decorative parapet above the original sign. The inappropriate Portland cement repairs were removed.
  2. Removal of the newer KVAAS sign and restoration of the original Simon Levi Company sign.
  3. Replication of the decorative niches. The material used was hydrostone, a water resistant plaster.
  4. Replication of the coffered stenciled beams. The original design, colors, and wood texture were replicated.
  5. Replication of the original light fixture.
  6. Priming and painting the entire façade, sign, decorative parapet (zoomorphic decoration above the sign), as well as the interior entrance space.

In accordance with the available photographic documentation, Renaissance Art, Restoration & Architecture (RARA) produced scale drawings (i.e., elevations and sections) and full size drawings for all missing architectural elements mentioned above. The consultant for this project was David Marshall of Heritage Architecture and Planning (HAP). The elements composing the plaster niches were fabricated by Historic Replicas. The light fixture was fabricated by Gibson & Gibson, and the wrought iron gate was fabricated by RK Ironworks.

This building is now integrated in The Legend, a condo complex. While the interior was remodeled, the Entrance and the East Façade were brought back to their original 1927 appearance.