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Fairmont Hotel: Whither the Tonga Room?

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Photo Credits: Kenn Wilson's Tonga Room Gallery on Flickr, Bay Area Radio, San Francisco Museum, all others via Robert Frank Architectural Illustration Looks like the proposal to facelift the historic Fairmont Hotel is about to meet its Planner: there's a Special Joint Meeting of the San Francisco Planning Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission to decide its fate. So at least someone's taking this seriously. We're wondering where everyone will sit, and whether there will be Mai Tai's. Is there a dress code? Hawaiian shirts, wet frat boys in towels? The meeting's agenda is straightforward and detailed- it even mentions the Venetian Room- but is silent on the Tonga Room, unless that falls under the recommendation to "approve with conditions."

To re-cap, the hotels' owners want to demolish the mid-century structures east of the historic building and build a new condo tower (oh, those should sell like hotcakes) and garage. They're not adding any sidewalk or pedestrian amenities along that dismal stretch of Powell Street, and we get some masonry fins and what looks like a glass-enclosed fire stair at the corner of California. The existing tower is dreadful, but the existing podium, with the 'sixties pavilion on top (and the Tonga Room inside) is pleasingly retro, plus the proposed tower looks like the best hi-rise in San Diego. As for Planning, the public comment period is over (although you can carry on in the comments below to your heart's content) but you can still pull on a grass skirt and attend the hearing: Commission Chambers, Room 400 at City Hall, Thursday, October 21, 2010, 10:30AM
· New Residential Fairmont Tower Revealed [Curbed SF Archives]
· Meeting Agenda [San Francisco Planning Commission]
· Tonga Room Calls Architectural Historian to the Stand