Business / Economy

Long-vacant San Benito Hotel demolished

The building had been vacant since a fire in 2009. Property owners says a residential development is possible, though no plans have been finalized
san benito hotel demo complete.jpg

The historic, burned-out San Benito Hotel Building on Fourth Street, which has been vacant since a fire in April 2009 caused substantial damage to it, was demolished on Tuesday, Dec. 29. Property owner Lynn Lake said she is still "kicking around" ideas for redeveloping the site, and that it was more cost-efficient to demolish it than to attempt to rehab the building.

The fire nearly six years ago was blamed on an unattended flame, suspected on being set by squatters who had been seen going in and out of the then-vacant building that once was a hotel and more recently had been operating as a bar on its ground floor.

Lake purchased the location in March 2014. She said that while she is still mulling her options for the site, she said she is "leaning toward residential" development. She does still own a liquor license that is attached to the property, which is zoned mixed-use.

She praised city of Hollister program manager Mary Paxton for encouraging the completion of an earthquake fault study that cleared numerous lots downtown for development. Lake, who indicated plans for her property may be finalized within six months, also credited the Hollister City Council and Mayor Ignacio Velazquez for encouraging infill development downtown, such as the residential units being built behind the Veteran's Memorial Building as well as the proposed redevelopment of the 400 Block property at Fourth and San Benito streets.

Adam Breen

Adam Breen has been a San Benito County resident since 1980 and graduated from Sacred Heart School and San Benito High School before earning a bachelor's degree from California State University, Fresno. A father of two sons, Adam has taught newspaper, English and yearbook at SBHS for the past decade, after six years as a magazine editor for Santa Clara University. He previously was editor of the Hollister Free Lance and content director for BenitoLink.