Santa Catalina

The group of private investors behind an effort to covert the Wrigley mansion into a bed-and-breakfast inn have acceded to the fire chief's request for the construction of more powerful water pumps at the hilltop mansion.

Marlene McAdam, one of three Avalon residents who, with two Long Beach residents, is behind the conversion project, said the pumps will be included in the renovation project, which is expected to begin next month. Total renovation costs are expected to exceed $500,000.

"If there was any way to get away from building the additional pumps and still have a safe building we would do it," McAdam said. "But that's direct from the Los Angeles County code and we are in complete agreement with that now."

The investors had balked at complying with the Fire Department's request to increase the capacity of an existing pump from 230 gallons per minute to 2,000 gallons per minute.

Fire Chief Jack Goslin said the additional pumping capacity is needed because the mansion is above the salt water reservoir used for firefighting in Avalon.

Meanwhile, the group may get a break on some of the other building requirements. The state Office of Historic Preservation is expected to decide Feb. 1 on a request that the mansion be included in the National Register of Historical Places.

McAdam said placement in the national register would allow more lenient enforcement of modern building codes for the 65-year-old building. For example, McAdam said, the current building codes require railing to be 42 inches high. She said the railings on outside terraces are only about 35 inches high.

"To raise them seven inches would change the appearance of the house," McAdam said, adding that it will be up to the building department to decide what code requirements should be strongly enforced.

The 12-room inn, which will be called Mt. Ada Inn after the wife of William Wrigley Jr., is scheduled to open June 15.

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