It was Thursday, Nov. 8, 1984. The sun had just set over San Diego Bay, and a full moon was lazily rising in the east.
A light rain had formed small puddles in the dirt beneath The Landing, a planned, upscale condominium project whose wood-framed structure had only recently begun reaching toward the blue skies above the Pacific Ocean.
A Coronado police watch commander noticed smoke and a small fire inside a portion of the building facing the shore. Although more than 45 fire units were on the scene within minutes after the blaze was reported, they were too late.
Fire had completely engulfed the site, sending flames soaring 150 feet into the cold night air. All 92 condos in the project were destroyed and damage topped $20 million. While arson was suspected, no one has been apprehended.
The fire remains one of San Diego's most costly blazes ever, but the story will soon end on a happy note. On Thursday, developer Watt Industries/San Diego Inc. promises to hold a grand opening for the rebuilt condo community that will be more spectacular than the fire itself.
The $88-million, 196-unit luxury condominium complex is located on a 7.5-acre site at Orange Avenue and 1st Street in Coronado.
The site previously was the landing for the San Diego-Coronado Ferry Co., which shuttled passengers and cars across San Diego Bay for 83 years before it ceased operations in 1969.
Twenty-five of the 92 units in the first phase of the project already have been sold.
The condos, most of which have a view of both the ocean and the San Diego skyline, aren't exactly offered at fire-sale prices. A one-bedroom, 1,300-square-foot unit is priced at $240,000. The most expensive unit currently being offered is a 2,400-square-foot, two-bedroom loft condo with a $615,000 price tag.
Some of the units in later phases of the project will cost nearly $1 million. Build-out is expect in late 1987.
The complex eventually will contain three four-story buildings designed by San Diego-based Buzard-Henning & Associates. The design is an interpretation of the Victorian Hotel del Coronado, with white stucco walls, peaked and sloping red tile roofs, dormers, handrails and natural wood trim.
Trepte Construction Co. is The Landing's contractor, and Gerald Garner & Associates is the landscape architect. The project's three models are decorated by Design Line Interiors. All three firms are based in San Diego.