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The Warehouse at Petco Park




San Diego's Petco Park is routinely listed among baseball's most beautiful ballparks. With the rich city landscape that looms over the action to the lush grass that always seems to be the perfect shade of green, it certainly lives up to the hype. The most unique aspect of the ballpark is the brick warehouse that rests in left-field. While fans are always amused when batted balls hit the landmark to signal another home run, few realized just how historic that building is.


The Western Metal Supply Company



The simple four-story warehouse was designed by the famed architect Henry Lord Gay in 1909 and soon the Western Metal Supply Company moved in. Run by Bernard and George McKenzie since the late 19th century, the company originally profited from producing materials for wagon makers and black smiths. By the time they moved into their new headquarters in the heart of San Diego, they had moved on to auto parts and plumbing supplies.


The family continued to own and operate the Western Metal Supply Company until it went bankrupt in 1975. Three years later, it was designated a historic landmark. And thus the building sat, vacant, for the next quarter century. By the time baseball's San Diego Padres began exploring locations for a new home, the location of the old Western Metal Supply Co. building began to look attractive to the franchise.


A Perfect Weld



They hit a snag. While the old brick building was located in an excellent part of town, the Padres soon found a worthy adversary in the Save Our Heritage Organisation. Seeking to save historic buildings of San Diego, the organization fought tooth and nail to save the Western Metal Supply Co. building from the wrecking ball.


In the end, the two parties would find a compromise. The Padres hired Heritage Architecture and Planning to design Petco Park around the historic building. It didn't disappoint. Inspired by Baltimore's Camden Yards, the glistening new ballpark was a perfect meld of old and new. With the Padres team store on the bottom level and party suites on the next two, it only seemed natural that a restaurant be added to the fourth and final floor of the historic building.


The park's design didn't go unnoticed as Heritage Architecture and Planning president David Marshall received the Governor's Historic Preservation Award for the park's unique design.


The relic quickly became a staple in the ambiance of Petco Park. Ever since the park first opened, batted balls that hit the warehouse's side were automatically ruled home runs. While there had been some that had glanced its side, none had popped on top of the building for the park's first dozen years. That all changed on one September day in 2016 when rookie Hunter Renfroe hit a 435 foot bomb to the top of the Western Metal Supply Co. building. History had been made. Of course, the subsequent 6-5 win over the Dodgers that night made the moment even sweeter.





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