Coronado Historical Society building

Philanthropists Don and Leslie Budinger have completed a major gift that began in 1999 and has now culminated in the transfer of title to the landmark building at 1100 Orange Avenue, to the Coronado Historical Association.

By completing the transfer of title of the property, the longtime supporters were able to realize their vision of sustaining CHA and ensuring its role as Coronado’s archivist and historian for the community, well into the future.

The Budingers’ association with CHA began in 1999 when the couple bought the historic former bank building at 1100 Orange Avenue, restored it, and then entrusted it to the care of the Coronado Historical Association, entering into a 30-year lease-gift agreement.

Under this agreement, the title would be transferred to CHA at the earlier of the Budingers’ deaths or expiration of the 30-year lease. The agreement between CHA and the Budingers provided that if the gift had not been completed within 20 years, CHA could elect to take the title at a cost significantly less than the appraised value of the building.

In 2017, the Budingers modified the lease-gift agreement to allow CHA to take early title to the building in 2021 for $2 million, around 25% of the $8 million which the building appraised for at that time.

According to Dave Landon, board president, CHA was also able to obtain affordable financing from First Republic Bank through municipal bonds issued by the California Enterprise Development Authority.

“The generous gift from the Budingers, along with favorable 30-year financing (fully amortized and at a fixed rate) has allowed us to lower our monthly facilities cost substantially. This will enable CHA to control its destiny moving forward by building much-needed cash reserves and increasing staffing level,” Landon said. “This is an extraordinary opportunity for CHA as we exit the pandemic and get back on track with robust fundraising, community outreach, and programming.”

The Budingers are dedicated to CHA and its efforts to instill community pride and preserve Coronado’s rich history.

“We are so grateful for this opportunity to support the strategic vision of the Coronado Historical Association, which we believe is a vital resource and important cornerstone of our community,” Don Budinger said. 

With a history dating back well over a century, the stunning two-story neo-classical building with many Beaux-Arts elements is an appropriate headquarters for CHA. Designed by San Francisco architects, the building opened as the Bank of Commerce & Trust on June 17, 1911, eventually merging with the Bank of Italy and then the Bank of America. The property also operated as Marco’s restaurant for many years. In 2000, CHA moved to the newly renovated building which now houses CHA’s three exhibit galleries, a research center, state-of-the-art archives, a museum store, and Tent City restaurant.

Established in 1969, the Coronado Historical Association is an essential resource and sole steward of Coronado’s rich history—documenting, preserving, and promoting the community

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