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Historic auto shop in Coronado may be forced out

Posted at 5:48 AM, Oct 11, 2017

CORONADO, Calif. (KGTV) - Rock Walton finds all sorts of memorabilia when he sifts through the rafters of his El Cordova garage in the heart of Coronado.

Old keys, parts, tools, and even posters, to name a few. He displays many of them in the lobby of his nearly 80-year-old auto shop.
 
He says he does it because it means something.

But soon, El Cordova itself could become a thing of the past.
 
San Diego development firm Kleege Enterprises bought nearly the entire block that his shop sits on for $22 million. It includes nearly two dozen quaint shops and restaurants.
 
Kleege just informed Walton that his garage will have to close in a matter of months. Buona Forchetta, an Italian restaurant now in Liberty Station, will turn the garage into a restaurant.
 
"Life is going to change a bunch," Walton said. "I would have to move off the island, that's a given."

Bruce Kleege, who owns the real estate firm, said the garage doesn't fit with the rest of the block's local shops and eateries.
 
"I just don’t think it helps the other businesses having that many towed cars," he said. "It just was a business decision and I hope they can find another location."

Walton says he understand's Kleege's rationale, to a point.

"We're all business owners, we're all OK with that, but does capitalism destroy our town?"

Kleege said he is happy to have the mom and pop shops stay, but noted some may have to start paying market rent.
 
Some of the other businesses on the block include MooTime Creamery, Bay Books, LeRoy's Kitchen and Austin's gift gallery.