The new International Cottages in Balboa Park are completed!

The brand new International Cottages in Balboa Park are finally finished! The construction site fences are down and the House of Peru is already moving in!

Late today I walked though the two new sections of the now expanded House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. Five structures have been built for nine nations or cultural units. As you can see from my photographs, the new cottages are beautiful!

Two new structures on the northeast side of the International Cottages will showcase Mexico, Panama and the Philippines; three structures on the southwest side will showcase Korea, India, Peru, Palestine, Chamorro and Turkey.

After years and years of bureaucratic delays and financial struggle, this truly historic project is complete!

I peered through many new cottage windows as I walked around and saw mostly vacant space. But the House of Peru has begun to move in and they’ll have a “soft opening” for the public beginning tomorrow!

If you’d like to see photos of the big festive groundbreaking event almost five years ago, click here!

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Groundbreaking at Balboa Park’s International Cottages!

People gather for an important groundbreaking in Balboa Park. Five new cottages will be the home of nine nations at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
San Diego residents with diverse backgrounds gather for an important groundbreaking in Balboa Park. Five new structures will be the home of nine nations at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.

Today was an exciting day in Balboa Park! A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages, where nine member nations look forward to eventually moving into five brand new structures! Because there is limited space in this particular area of Balboa Park, four of the structures will be duplexes shared by eight nations; the fifth will be home to the House of the Philippines.

Colorfully dressed representatives from the Philippines, Peru, Mexico, India, Lebanon, Turkey, Panama, Korea and Palestine (not presently a nation, but a culture) participated in the groundbreaking. If all goes according to plan, they’ll have their cottages completed by the end of 2017, just in time for December Nights!

As many in San Diego know, several changes and improvements might be coming to Balboa Park, including an underground parking garage behind the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, a very short distance from the cottages. A huge parking lot near the center of Balboa Park will be replaced with grass, gardens, walkways and more beautiful park! Watching all of this proposed construction should be quite interesting! Stay tuned!

A gentleman from the House of Palestine stands near a flag where a new cottage will be built that showcases Palestinian culture.
A friendly gentleman from the House of Palestine stands near a flag where a new cottage will be built that showcases Palestinian culture.

Three duplex cottages will be built in this area south of the existing cottages, behind the House of Ukraine and House of the United States.
Three duplex structures will be built in this area south of the existing cottages, directly behind the House of Ukraine and House of the United States.

Two ladies in colorful dress enter the Hall of Nations Building for a special groundbreaking reception.
Two ladies in colorful dress enter the Hall of Nations Building for a special groundbreaking reception.

The Hall of Nations Building has been used on a rotating basis by member nations who don't presently have a cottage. Today a reception was held inside celebrating the groundbreaking of five new international cottages.
The Hall of Nations Building has been used on a rotating basis by member nations who don’t presently have a cottage. Today a reception was held inside celebrating the groundbreaking of five new structures.

Two cottages will be built in this area, north of the House of Iran and the Hall of Nations Building. In this photo a crowd is gathering for the historic groundbreaking ceremony.
Two structures will be built in this area, north of the House of Iran and the Hall of Nations Building. In this photo a crowd is gathering for the historic groundbreaking ceremony.

The original House of Pacific Relations cottages were built in 1935 for the California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park. Pacific means peaceful, and that was the intent of the cottages--to promote friendship between nations and mutual understanding.
The original House of Pacific Relations cottages were built in 1935 for the California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park. Pacific means peaceful, and that is the intent of the cottages–to promote friendship between nations and mutual understanding.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer addresses those attending the long-awaited groundbreaking. Many dignitaries spoke, and those who are working hard to complete the expansion were honored.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer addresses those attending the long-awaited groundbreaking. Many dignitaries spoke, and those who’ve been working tirelessly to complete the expansion were honored.

Beauty queens from the House of Panama stood proudly with others near the podium.
Beauty queens from the House of Panama stood proudly with others near the podium.

The nine member nations who will be receiving new cottages all participated in the traditional groundbreaking ceremony. Lifting these shovels are representatives from the House of Korea.
The nine member nations who will be receiving new cottages all participated in the traditional groundbreaking ceremony. Lifting these shovels are representatives from the House of Korea.

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New international cottages to be built in Balboa Park.

New International Cottages display explains expansion plans in Balboa Park. Photo taken during December Nights.
New International Cottages display explains expansion plans in Balboa Park. Photo taken during December Nights.

If everything goes according to plan, ground will be broken in 2016 at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. Nine new international cottages are going to be built in Balboa Park!

The nations looking forward to having new cottages are Mexico, India, Colombia, Lebanon, Palestine, Peru, Panama, Turkey and the Philippines. While Palestine today is a community of people rather than a recognized nation with borders, like Scotland they’ll share their culture with Balboa Park’s visitors in their own unique cottage.

Nineteen cottages exist today. Nine more cottages will soon be built. But that still leaves many nations on a waiting list. Each member “House” must raise their own funds for construction, as no taxpayer money is used.

During December Nights, I took a photo of a map showing where the structures will be built. It appears to me there’s room for even more cottages in the future!

Map shows where nine new structures will be built at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
Map shows where new structures will be built at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.

Six new international houses will be built in this grassy area, which is southwest of the existing cottages.
Six new international cottages are coming to this grassy area, which is southwest of the existing cottages.

A view from a different angle includes the Balboa Park Club and some bicyclists.
A view from a different angle includes the Balboa Park Club and some bicyclists.

A photograph of some existing international cottages in Balboa Park.
A photograph of some existing international cottages in Balboa Park.

Our purpose is to bring into close association the people of the various national groups . . . to foster and cultivate a spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance and goodwill.
Our purpose is to bring into close association the people of the various national groups . . . to foster and cultivate a spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance and goodwill.

This property is owned by the City of San Diego and is being utilized for the benefit of the general public through the joint cooperation of the city and United Nations Association.
This property is owned by the City of San Diego and is being utilized for the benefit of the general public through the joint cooperation of the City and United Nations Association.

People visit the United Nations Building, at Balboa Park's unique House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
People visit the United Nations Building, at Balboa Park’s unique House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.

UPDATE!

I learned in July 2016 that nearly all the bureaucratic hoops have now been jumped through in order to begin construction. All that remains is approval from the San Diego City Council. It’s hoped the new cottages will be completed in 2017, just in time for the December Nights celebration!

ANOTHER UPDATE!

Now it is hoped the cottages will be completed in 2018. Apparently the construction costs have increased dramatically. And each nation must raise money to build their own cottage.

FINALLY!

Construction began in 2019! You can see one photo of the very early construction here!

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