As construction continues on the former El Encanto building, the new destination spa is beginning to emerge and is due to open early summer.
As with any eighty-two year old building, as the remodel progresses, some construction issues are beginning to pop up that need to be addressed. Most of these issues were anticipated, some were not. The main focus has been on the replacement of portions of the foundation in the entry tower. As work progressed, it was discovered that the foundation was not structurally adequate for the building. The entire building had to be held up while the eroding foundation was removed and a completely new foundation was poured.
Originally the entire roof of the building was to be preserved, but a considerable amount of leakage was found throughout. In analyzing the individual tiles, the company found that a number of them were replacement tiles that had been installed over the years and that the original roof tiles that were left, had become brittle and broken and would not be suitable for re-use once the roof had been protected from leaks. After consulting with their designers and contractors, the Company made the decision to replace a large section of the roof with a similar red barrel tile to guarantee that the roof will be water-tight and will present an architectural appearance that is consistent with the original building.
The original roof tile on the entry tower and on the two other existing towers will likely remain in place. The arched entrance and vaulted ceiling will also remain.
The stucco wall along the Marilla side of the project has unfortunately disconnected from the building frame. It was not possible to reconnect the stucco with a water-tight seal. The company is working with consultants and contractors to install the new stucco in a manner that allows it to fit in with the original mix of stucco styles on the building.
All other historic aspects of the building will remain with some elements being preserved for later use in another venue. The two 1917 Palladian windows from the Hotel St. Catherine are being protected and will be reused or relocated; as are the large Catalina bird tile murals that adorned both interior and exterior walls. Rare original Indian head tiles are preserved and will be reused. The two Wrigley Company safes that were discovered at the beginning of the project will find permanent homes within the Company.
As the Spa project continues, the Island Company has and will continue to work to preserve Avalon’s historic past, landmark buildings and Catalina tiles to share with generations to come.