Sunday, June 23, 2024

Coronado Historical Association Receives Major Gift from Philanthropists Leslie and Don Budinger

Leslie and Don Budinger complete a gift to CHA Equivalent to $6 Million

1100 Orange Avenue from front.
Coronado Historical Association building at 1100 Orange Avenue. Courtesy Coronado Historical Association.

Philanthropists Leslie and Don Budinger have completed a major gift which began in 1999 and has now culminated in the transfer of title to the landmark building at 1100 Orange Avenue, to the Coronado Historical Association (CHA). By completing the transfer of title of the property, the Budingers, longtime supporters, were able to realize their vision of sustaining CHA and ensuring its role as Coronado’s archivist and historian for the community, well into the future.

Photograph of Don and Leslie Budinger. Don Budinger at microphone.
Don and Leslie Budinger. Photo courtesy Bill Sandke.

The Budingers’ association with CHA began in 1999 when the couple bought the historic former bank building at 1100 Orange Avenue, restored it, and then entrusted it to the care of the Coronado Historical Association, entering into a 30-year lease-gift agreement. Under this agreement, title would be transferred to CHA at the earlier of the Budingers’ deaths or expiration of the 30-year lease. The agreement between CHA and the Budingers provided that if the gift had not been completed within 20 years, CHA could elect to take title at a cost significantly less than the appraised value of the building. In 2017, the Budingers modified the lease-gift agreement to allow CHA to take early title to the building in 2021 for $2 million, approximately 25% of the $8 million which the building appraised for at that time.

According to Dave Landon, Board president, CHA was also able to obtain affordable financing from First Republic Bank through municipal bonds issued by the California Enterprise Development Authority. “The generous gift from the Budingers, along with favorable 30-year financing (fully amortized and at a fixed rate) has allowed us to lower our monthly facilities cost substantially. This will enable CHA to control its destiny moving forward by building much-needed cash reserves and increasing staffing level,” Landon said. “This is an extraordinary opportunity for CHA as we exit the pandemic and get back on track with robust fundraising, community outreach and programming.”

The Budingers are dedicated to CHA and its efforts to instill community pride and preserve Coronado’s rich history. “We are so grateful for this opportunity to support the strategic vision of the Coronado Historical Association, which we believe is a vital resource and important cornerstone of our community,” Don Budinger said.

Coronado Historical Association building when it was the Bank of Commerce.
Bank of Commerce Building; then Bank of America, now CHA at 1100 Orange Avenue. Courtesy Coronado Historical Association

With a history dating back well over a century, the stunning two-story neo-classical building with many Beaux-Arts elements is an appropriate headquarters for CHA. Designed by San Francisco architects, the building opened as the Bank of Commerce & Trust on June 17, 1911, eventually merging with the Bank of Italy and then the Bank of America. The property also operated as Marco’s restaurant for many years. In 2000, CHA moved to the newly-renovated building which now houses CHA’s three exhibit galleries, a research center, state-of-the-art archives, a museum store, and Tent City restaurant.

About The Coronado Historical Association
Established in 1969, the Coronado Historical Association (CHA), is an essential resource and sole steward of Coronado’s rich history—documenting, preserving and promoting the community’s colorful past while engaging residents in their city’s unique history. For more information, visit
Color postcard of corner of Orange Avenue and 10th Street, Coronado, CA.
Postcard of 1100 Orange Avenue. Courtesy Coronado Historical Association.

RELATED, 2017:

Coronado Historical Association Honors Two of Its Own

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