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Saturday, Feb 4, 2023

US Grant’s Dibella Piecing Together Storied Past of Grand Hotel

From the time Mark Dibella, director of media and community relations for the US Grant Hotel, got a call from a local resident a couple of years ago telling him she happened upon some documents and newspaper clippings in her attic that turned out to be the contents of the hotel’s original time capsule, he’s been piecing together the illustrious grande dame’s history and is writing a book on the topic.

“I’m about this close to finishing the research,” he said, making the inch sign with his thumb and forefinger while conducting a private tour of a basement area where a page in the Grant’s history will soon come back to life. The basement, which originally sported a Turkish bath , a variation of the steam bath that was particularly popular at the turn of the century , still houses one of two original lap pools that will be restored as part of a two-story fitness room and spa scheduled to begin construction in the spring.

(See related story.)

When Dibella helped to oversee the renovation of the post-Victorian hotel, he gained an appreciation for the assiduous attention to detail paid by its architect, Harrison Albright, who after designing all the intricacies, cornices, Corinthian columns and grand staircases, then installed a drainage system in its bowels that Dibella describes as a minor engineering marvel.

“You see that,” he said, pointing to the base of a wall adjacent to the pool that lies below the Broadway sidewalk. “Albright had sump pumps put in, so if there was a flood and water poured down this wall into the basement it could be pumped out.” It never flooded. But he also used a mix of concrete that made the steel-reinforced walls impervious to moisture.

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“These walls are as sturdy today as the day the hotel was built,” Dibella emphasized. Doubtfully few, except Dibella, who came to work wearing a hard hat and steel-toed boots throughout 2006 and knows every nook and cranny in the place, are aware of the drains. He should get that info into his book. Hotels have been known to flood, particularly when guests go out and leave the bathtub running.

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Fans Had Good Reason To Cry In Their Beer:

The fans at Rookies Sports Bar and Restaurant in Oceanside got a double shot of disappointment a couple weekends ago. First, those who packed the house to watch the Ultimate Fighting Championship , Michael Lalla, the bar’s manager, said it’s one of the county’s top gathering spots for the bouts , saw Wilson Gouveia knock out Jason “The Punisher” Lambert of Carlsbad 37 seconds into the second round of the match. The entire fight card was aired live from London.

“I didn’t have time to watch,” Lalla said. “I was too busy. Our capacity is 199 people and we were at capacity.”

San Diego-based Imaging Healthcare Specialists, an outpatient medical imaging firm with 14 county locations, which sponsors Lambert and other athletes that train and are managed by the North County Fight Club, shared in the disappointment.

But Imaging Healthcare Specialists scored a win when Lambert walked down the causeway to face his opponent wearing the company’s logo on his shirt and again when a banner with its logo was unfurled in the ring.

“It gave us nice exposure for our name and brand,” said company spokesman Scott Raymond.

Then on Sunday came the Chargers game, when fans at Rookies and other watering holes throughout the county had another reason to cry in their beer. But baseball season is nearing and before we know it, a little kid, & #341; la Padres tradition, will be shouting the familiar command, “Play ball.”

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Increasing A Base Of Opportunity:

Suzi Gold, business development manager, and Lisa Raggio, sponsorship manager for Marine Corps Community Services Miramar, want businesses to know that Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, a small city in its own right where 10,000 to 11,000 civilians and military either work or shop daily, is a good place for them to advertise their wares and services or increase awareness by sponsoring events.

“They can sponsor special events on base, such as military appreciation days throughout the year, athletic events and health fairs,” Raggio said. “There are also opportunities to display banners and to advertise at the (base’s) hotel, the theatre and the golf course, and we can even do product displays. We’re flexible. We want to work with the community.”

Gold said that in 2007 efforts by MCCS brought in $117,000 in cash, while in-kind sponsorships were valued at $191,000 for 30 events and 100 programs for the military. Some are partially supported by tax dollars, while others receive no tax funding. A realistic goal, she added, is to increase the cash and in-kind sponsorships by 10 percent in 2008.

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, or give her a call at (858) 277-6359.


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