At Home With Vicki And Chris Eddy
Posted October 7, 2011
Leaning on the railing of her sixth-floor condominium, high above downtown San Diego, Vicki Eddy points out a stunning vista: the soaring glass towers of the Marriott Hotel, the San Diego Convention Center, and just beyond that, the Coronado Bay Bridge. “We live in the view,” she says, “There’s a lot of texture, the feeling of a lot of life.” Vicki, who is president of Patrons of the Prado and a tireless volunteer for many causes, and husband Chris, a real estate developer, are longtime La Jollans (they were married atop Mt. Soledad). But a few years ago, they made a spur-of-the-moment decision to move to the Pinnacle Marina Tower at Front and Market. “We thought once our kids were gone, it would be fun to live downtown,” Vicki recalls. Adds Chris: “This was our ‘empty nester’ program.”
The couple combined two small units, fashioning their own comfortable, compact version of the high life. The space includes a master suite, living room and dining room connected by a fireplace, kitchen, sports bar, an office, and a small guestroom for friends who can stay after a night on the town. While La Jolla remains their hometown, the Eddys have never regretted the move to downtown where they live, work, and play.
“You don’t have to have a plan on a Saturday morning,” says Chris. “You just open the door and walk outside.” They walk everywhere — to favorite restaurants like Searsucker and Oceanaire, Tabule and Top of the Market, and to cultural events at the Lyceum Theatre, the Opera, and the Summer Pops. “You never run out of things to do,” Chris adds. “Every weekend, there’s something happening.”
The Eddys are just four blocks away from their latest venture, restoring a historic building on Front Street and 4th Avenue. It includes Goga, the boutique founded by Project Runway finalist Gordana Gelhausen and her husband; Shorelines Gallery; and soon to come, the Reef Bar and Mariscos el Pulpo, a restaurant serving casual, Mexican coastal cuisine. The building also houses the quaint 20-room Gaslamp Quarter Hotel, built in 1915 for tourists visiting the Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park. It is now a cozy and affordable home for students, many of them from other countries, who attend the Thomas Jefferson School of Law. “I just love the feeling of walking down the halls and picturing what it looked like as an actual hotel more than 100 years ago,” says Vicki, who calls herself the “dorm mom.” “I love the architecture, I love the character of it, and I really like bringing it back to life with students.”
The building has a colorful past: over the years it has housed a brothel, billiards, blacksmith, barber, saloon, and undertaker — and “George” the ghost is said to make appearances now and then, according to the Eddys’ son. “His experience was, with the window closed, having a chill of air whoosh through the room and stop,” says Chris. “Our son just said, ‘How ’ya doing? It’s your place, too.’” (Their daughter, however, thinks “George” was actually a woman.) A local medium, who is also a legal secretary, was so intrigued by the building that she researched its provenance, or history of ownership, in return for holding séances in the basement. Trouble was, she couldn’t keep assistants — the place was too spooky.
The Eddys, who are so close they finish each other’s sentences, are not only fascinated by San Diego history, they have a remarkable history of their own. Chris has done extensive genealogy research, and found that many, many generations ago, their family trees actually merged. He also tracked down his mother Marianne’s two sisters, an extended family that she had never known. And Vicki, he discovered, is descended from Benjamin Harrison, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. In a wonderful bit of irony, she was born on the Fourth of July. Andrea Naversen