Cordova Hotel Would Make Beautiful And Historical County-Municipal Building
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(Editors Note: Shown above is an architectural artist's design for re-
modeling, reclaiming and adding to the old Cordova Hotel at the corner of
Cordova and King Streets. The design was drawn by Hugo Ohlms under
the direction of George W. Stickle of Stickle and Associates. The Stickle
Architectural and Engineering firm is one of the leading firms in the
United States in the restoration and reclamation field. The firm has of-
fices in Cleveland, Ohio; Philadelphia, Penn.; and St. Augustine. The above
design was drawn in the public interest in a cooperative venture with the
St. Augustine Record in helping us present the following proposal.)
For more years than we like to remember the structure standing on
the corner of Cordova and King St. has been noted by residents and tour-
ists alike to be a building of beautiful architecture and design but, "What
a shame that it is empty."
For the business establishments residing in the building the street
floor of the old hotel has been home for some time. However, the remainder
of the entire building has been empty for over 30 years.
The St. Augustine Record, with the help of the beautiful design above,
proposes that immediate steps be taken to investigate the possibility of
procuring the Cordova Building from the Florida East Coast Hotel Co.
for the purpose of restoration and remodeling as a County-Municipal build-
William R. Kenan Jr., President of the Florida East Coast Hotel Co.
in a letter to the St. Augustine Record stated: "I am thoroughly in accord
with this proposal and will be very glad to discuss with the City or County
officials terms of a sale of the Cordova Building for use as a County Court
House." The entrance shown is on the Cordova Street side.
The proposed County-Municipal Building above would have three floors
with a total of 64,461 square feet. It is believed that this large space would
be adequate to house all municipal and county agencies in St. Johns County
plus three separate court facilities for the Circuit, County and City magis-
The cost estimate for complete remodeling (interior and exterior),
new plumbing, heating, air conditioning etc. would be near $750,000. This
estimate was furnished the St. Augustine Record by George W. Stickle
The county has at present approximately $270,000 in the Court House
Building Fund which could be applied on the renovation of the Cordova
Hotel for the purpose of court house facilities.
The location of the proposed County-Municipal Building is such to
facilitate foot traffic in the heart of the city. The building is bordered
by three beautification spots already in existence; The Lightner Museum.
The Ponce de Leon Hotel, and the Plaza grounds surrounding the Post
Office (Old Governor's Mansion).
In selection of a site in which to place a County-Municipal Building
one of the primary drawbacks has always been adequate parking facilities.
This is not a problem with the above site. There are facilities directly
behind the Cordova Building adequate to handle between 120 and 150
automobiles. The available parking facilities referred to are the small lot
directly behind the building and the adjacent property known as the Webb
The following is a statement of the architect, George W. Stickle, who
designed the above artist's drawing: "All who know or have visited St.
Augustine have felt what a waste it was to leave such a magnificent struc-
ture as the Cordova Building empty and unused. We have tried to form
a plan that we feel will do a number of things, namely, to make it an im-
portant part of the Restoration Program and above all to make a County-
City Municipal Building which will be centrally located and so beautiful
in design that it will be a mecca for all interested in America's storied past.
In redesigning this building it was necessary to keep enough of the
building unchanged so as not to destroy the landmark that it is. The build-
ing is so strategically placed in the city that if it is restored it will re-
store a large part of St. Augustine. The changes that occur must be har-
monious to its environment which consists of the Lightner Museum, The
Ponce de Leon Hotel and the Post Office.
"We feel the Spanish history of the city must be stressed in the por-
tico of a new County-Municipal Building. The above design with its au-
thentic Spanish facade lends a gay and sunny note to the ancient city,
expressing the romanticism of history rather than the musty flavour of
the dead past."
COMPARATIVE COST-It is felt that this proposed solution for the
long existing problem of adequate quarters for the governmental bodies
of St. Johns County is one of far reaching consequence. If the Cordova
Building were restored and remodeled to meet the existing need several
progressive additions would be developed in the city. First we would have
as beautiful and historical a County-Municipal Building and Court House
as could be found anywhere. Secondly we would eliminate the necessity
to build a new-modern building away from the heart of town, costing
several million dollars. Thirdly the proposed building would be self-suffi-
cient with the revenue derived from the stores located within it, eliminat-
ing the additional burden of support from the already overloaded tax-
The above drawing will be on display at the Exchange Bank of St.
Augustine for the week of April 9th. The design will then go on display
at the St. Augustine National Bank for the week of April 16th.
We feel that this proposal is needed, justified, and best for our city.
We would like to see this plan become a reality. We call on you the citizens
of St. Augustine, our readers, to make this project happen. With your
help and endorsement IT WILL!
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