May 22, 2019

It’s not every day that you see a cultural landmark rolling down the street, but that’s exactly what happened to beachgoers in Oceanside, California earlier this month. The “Top Gun House,” a sky blue beach cottage made famous by the 1980s Hollywood blockbuster “Top Gun,” was relocated from its long-time home on palm-lined Pacific Street. It will be restored and prominently featured at a new independently branded beachfront destination resort being built in Oceanside. Developer SD Malkin Properties broke ground on the Oceanside Beach Resort in February.

Located at the hub of Oceanside’s booming renaissance, the 2.75-acre new-build project along Mission Avenue and N. Pacific Street will offer guests immediate beach access and 387 rooms, 85% of which will have water views. The resort will also feature restaurants, bars, pools, a luxury spa, event space and unique retail shops, including the “Top Gun House,” which will be publicly accessible and leased as a bespoke ice cream parlor. Already popular given its historical significance and feature in the classic 1980’s film, the house is expected to garner even more interest after the sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick,” featuring Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer. It is scheduled for release in Summer 2020.

The team plans to undertake basic structural restoration on the building before moving it back to its permanent home on the northern end of the resort, where the finishing touches will be completed.

DPR Construction, general contractor for the project, worked on the house to get it ready for its big move. “It’s amazing how much interest there is in this house,” said Project Executive Whitney Dorn. The project team nailed wood slats to the porch and braced some of the exterior before hoisting it onto the trailer that transported it to its temporary home two blocks away. The team plans to undertake basic structural restoration on the building before moving it back to its permanent home on the northern end of the resort, where the finishing touches will be completed.

The cottage was originally known as the Graves House and was built in1887. Photo courtesy of Oceanside Historical Society

Built in 1887, the cottage was originally known as The Graves House in honor of its original owner, a physician from Riverside. One of the oldest beach cottages in San Diego County, it boasts an unusual architectural style: Folk Victorian. Designed to evoke the more elaborate Victorian homes of the era, Folk Victorian found favor among homeowners in the late 19th Century due to its ease and affordability. Spindlework detailing and cornice brackets were added to existing homes to create the style, which became common as Western towns were settled around the turn-of-the-century.

The house later became a beach rental before making its appearance as the home of Tom Cruise’s love interest in the movie “Top Gun,” which grossed over $360 million (more than $800 million in 2019 dollars)—the highest grossing film of 1986. It starred Cruise as a brash young naval aviator training at the elite Fighter Weapons School at Naval Air Station Miramar in San Diego. The film became a cultural sensation; sales of bomber jackets and aviator sunglasses skyrocketed, Navy recruitment increased, and tourists began taking their photos in front of the newly dubbed “Top Gun House.”

The team plans to undertake basic structural restoration on the building before moving it back to its permanent home on the northern end of the resort.

Fast forward to 2019: Interest in the house has held strong, the sequel “Top Gun: Maverick” is set to open in June of 2020, and the resort’s hotels are expected to open by the end of that same year. 2020 looks to be a blockbuster year for the city of Oceanside.