The City of Monterey Historic Preservation Commission unanimously approved plans by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Foothill Partners, Inc. to revitalize the historic Cooper-Molera Adobe property, located on a three-acre site in the heart of Old Monterey.
The proposal would allow the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the non-profit organization that owns the property, and Foothill Partners, Inc., a retail developer, to create a unique “shared use” historic site at Cooper-Molera. The public-private partnership will establish a creative funding model which will preserve this historic site. The historic adobe residences and gardens will function as a museum within the Monterey State Historic Park, while compatible commercial uses would open the site to new audiences and provide new sources of revenue to ensure its long term viability. Foothill Partners and the National Trust expect to invest approximately $6 million in the revitalization of the property.
Museum operations at the property, currently managed by California State Parks under agreement with the National Trust, will be carried out directly by the Trust in the future. The National Trust will continue and expand popular educational and interpretive uses such as for school programs, Christmas in the Adobes, and the July 4th Living History program in continuing collaboration with California State Parks, the Monterey State Historic Park Association, and other local partners. At the same time, the historic Spear Warehouse and its courtyard would become a new restaurant, with other new commercial retail programming to be introduced in adjacent structures along Polk Street.
The historic barn complex at the south end of the property—padlocked for years due to seismic concerns—will be seismically retrofitted and rehabilitated as an event center, allowing the property, after many years of inactivity, to again be used for weddings, public performances, dance recitals, and other active programming.
Cooper-Molera Adobe has been operated by California State Parks under an agreement with the National Trust since the 1980s. That agreement ends in 2016, and California State Parks has indicated that renewal of this arrangement is not likely given the fiscal challenges faced by the state parks department.
Cooper-Molera Adobe, built in the late 1820s, was the home of J.B.R. Cooper and his wife Encarnación Vallejo. J.B.R. Cooper was an immigrant American ship captain and trader who settled in Monterey; Encarnación Vallejo was a member of one of the most prominent and powerful families in Mexican California. She was the sister of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, who helped shape the transition of Alta California from a province of Mexico to the U.S. State of California. The Coopers and their descendants (including Andrew Molera, who helped transform American agricultural practice) helped to lay the foundation for modern California....Read More