3 Jun 2012
Can you “unhaunt” a location by renovation? The Spreckles Mansion restoration is under way
By: Bonnie Vent
Developers are proposing major changes for the landmark Coronado,CA home linked recently to tragedy.
The investment group that owns the Spreckles Mansion has proposed a restoration project on its original 1907 design.
The oceanfront mansion made national headlines after Rebecca Zahau, girlfriend of millionaire Jonah Shacknai, was found hanging naked from a balcony at the oceanfront property last year. Investigators ruled her death a suicide. The attorney’s representing the Zahau family do not agree and are attempting to re-open the investigation. Due to the renovations of the interior, the locations leading to Rebecca’s tragic death can no longer be examined. If the spirit of Rebecca Zahau remains at the mansion seeking justice, there is the potential this will cause activity not cover it over.
Real estate broker Scott Aurich .says “It’d be nice to change the conversation, less sensationalism about the recent tragedies and more about what the house represents as far as a significant piece of architecture here in Coronado,.
Aurich is working with the firm that is selling the remodeled home. Under California disclosure laws the tragic deaths will have to be disclosed in writing to any potential buyer.
The Spreckles mansion is a significant historical property. It was built by John D. Spreckles, who was once an owner of the Hotel Del Coronado and survivor of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Strangely the Hotel Del Coronado has received a haunted reputation due to an 1892 case deemed as a suicide with a similar amount of skepticism that the entire truth is known. This case is greatly disputed even today.
It may be easier said than done to completely renovate the Spreckles Mansion. The sight is protected under the Mills Act, which means the city’s Historic Resource Commission has to approve any changes to the exterior. This would also include the balcony where Rebecca Zahau died.