The Apple Valley Town Council will consider hiring an architect to design a future observation deck, as well as an open-space trail atop Bass Hill, once the iconic and condemned Hilltop House is demolished.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the council will consider hiring Architerra Design Group to create a design concept as part of the town’s ongoing efforts to repurpose the iconic house and property.
On Feb. 17, the town issued a request for proposals seeking a design consultant to survey property boundaries, prepare an aerial survey and create concept design and imagery boards.
Previous coverage:Apple Valley Council votes to demolish historic Hilltop House
The town received three proposals and interviewed two firms that were most qualified, with Architerra Design Group ultimately selected by staff as the most qualified to proceed.
Town staff mentioned Architerra Design’s previous experience in historic preservation and education, the strength of the project’s team members, and innovative ideas to try to preserve elements of the Hilltop House.
In a written statement on Wednesday, Town Manager Doug Robertson said the town’s goal has always been to repurpose the property into a usable public space and observation deck.
“We know how important this property is to the history and legacy of our community, and this next step will move us closer to preserving that story safely and interactively,” said Robertson, who added that the town is excited to continue that work.
Architerra Design Group
Based in Rancho Cucamonga, Architerra Design billed itself as a professional landscape architectural and site-planning firm serving California, Arizona, Oregon, New Mexico and Nevada.
The design company has been recognized as one of the largest landscape architecture firms in the Inland Empire.
The company was established in 1991 by Richard Krumwiede, a licensed landscape architect with more than 45 years of experience in the landscape design and construction industry.
One of Architerra Design’s many projects is the renovation and redesign of two rooftop gardens at the Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Facility.
The gardens were designed to promote serenity, relaxation and a peaceful ambiance. Its features include raised flower and garden beds, meandering walkways, seating areas, water fountains, fencing and privacy screening for adjacent CCU rooms.
The second garden has no public access and is being redesigned with planting and hardscape features that provide an attractive and pleasant view from the adjoining patient care facility.
Razing the Hilltop House
In March, the Town Council voted unanimously to demolish the historic Hilltop House in preparation for the future construction of an observation decker.
The council decided to raze the dilapidated house, constructed in 1957 along Highway 18, mainly because of the structure’s safety and liability concerns.
Town staff did not state a demolition timeline. Still, it did say the estimated price tag to raze the town-owned structure is $150,000 to $200,000 using abatement funds and allocated Community Development Block Grant funding.
The Hilltop House was built mainly by Newton T. Bass and also business partner Bud Westlund, the owners of the Apple Valley Ranchos Land Development Company and founders of the town.
Bass first used the house — situated on nearly 21 acres — to lure potential average and celebrity homeowners such as Bob Hope and Dean Martin.
Property faced fires, abandonment
After a fire nearly destroyed the home in 1967, the structure was rebuilt and was used mainly for office space.
The home changed hands several times and was used as an entertainment and conference center, hosting meetings, weddings, school activities, receptions, and parties.
A fence erected around the structure has been frequently broken into by trespassers, vandals, and the curious. Some have stolen recyclable materials from the structure, town officials said.
A portion of the second floor has collapsed, a fire nearly destroyed the carport, and graffiti covers much of the building.
The town has spent tens of thousands of dollars securing the property more than once and abate the graffiti and vandalism that has plagued the property.
For more information on the Hilltop House repurposing project, visit av.town/hilltophouse or call 760- 240-7000 ext. 7051.
Tuesday’s meeting is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. inside council chambers at Apple Valley Town Hall, 14955 Dale Evans Parkway. The full agenda and meeting can also be viewed online at AppleValley.org.