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Biggest Preservation Battle of 2012

It's time to make up a bunch of awards and hand them out to the most deserving people, places and things in the real estate, architecture and neighborhood universes of San Francisco! Yep, it's time for the Annual Curbed Awards.

[Photo: Bhautik Joshi]

1st Place: Coit Tower neighbors vs. Rec & Park
Perennial fav for tourists and locals alike, Coit Tower was the center of some heated arguments this year. Managed by strapped-for-cash Rec & Park, the site was in need of some dire repair, especially to the historic interior murals. Some neighbors on Telegraph Hill started the Protect Coit Tower Committee to light a (figurative) fire under the Department to get going on repairs, but then lost their minds when they found out a private dinner party was held in the tower, complete with hunky celebrity chef Tyler Florence and candles (which were LED operated)! Sh*t hit the fan pretty quick, and PCTC got an initiative on the June ballot so that Rec and Park would "strictly limit" events held at the tower. More than 30 new regulations designed to protect the Depression-era murals were approved for future concession contracts, including limiting special events to the tower's observation deck and banning all food and drinks from the mural rooms. While city officials are still trying to hammer out the details, restoration work on the murals is already underway.

[Photo: Doug Letterman]

Runner up: Tonga Room fans vs. Fairmont Hotel
While this battle technically took place over the course of the past few years, 2012 saw the final resolution securing the tiki bar's safety. The Fairmont was looking to tear down the tower component to the hotel to built a new luxury condo tower - a project that would include the removal of local, and to some historic, tiki bar the Tonga Room. In a totally unforeseen grassroots effort, preservationists, tiki aficionados, and people who like tiny umbrellas in their drinks, rallied for the preservation of the bar and it's ridiculously awesome indoor boat and rainstorms (located over the hotel's old pool). In an unexpected twist, the Hotel Workers Local 2 union threw a wrench in the hotel's condo conversion plan, and the project eventually died. Part of the hotel was subsequently sold to two LA-based equity firms.