There’s only a giant mound of dirt there now, but that old blue building at the intersection of Santa Monica Avenue and Ebers Street – recently demolished – is being replaced by four single-story and single family residences – each with a garage.
The new owner and developer, CG Alan Development, is reportedly making the units rentals, not condos as a previous owner had planed.
The finished project will take another 7 to 10 months, I was told by an on-site engineer the other day when I dropped by. Mike Freitas, the dirt engineer, he told me, actually lives in Ocean Beach, just down Ebers at Muir. Mike grew up in OB, a 1999 graduate of Point Loma High, and works for a demolition outfit, AMG Demolition. While we spoke, an AMG front loader was moving and digging around the huge dirt pit that had been created. He’ll be on site just for another week, Mike said.
The new houses, once built, will be slightly elevated from each other as there is a slope on that 4600 block of Santa Monica – roughly 2 and a half feet elevation between them. I looked at the plans briefly as Mike held them up studying the numbers, and the units all appear to be planned in a row up the hill, with the third one slightly set back.
Frietas didn’t think they’d be condos, or condo-ized. This could be good news, I thought. This was a change to the plans for the site made by one of the previous owners, after the last occupant – the Children’s Energy Center- had been kicked out in 2006 without warning to staff or parents, after being located there for many years.
There had been some controversy around the Center being closed, and then with the building fixed up in anticipation of reaping mucho profts during the housing bubble, … but the building sat there for years, unsold, unused. Only recently was the place sold within the last several months and the old Center’s buildings demolished.
Four years ago, I wrote a piece about the closing of the Energy Center and the shenanigans of the various owners. Here’s part of what I said then:
Anyone who has lived in Ocean Beach for any length of time remembers the old Children’s Energy Center, a sprawling blue single-story building with a large playground in the backyard. Raised off the street level a bit along Ebers, it sits directly across from the OB Child Care Center and OB Elementary playing fields.
It was usually full of kids, for after all, it was a child care center itself, serving kids from 2 to 10 years of age. For years.
Well, the kids were all kicked out three years ago [in 2006] – and it appears all for greed. For ever since, the property and building have remained vacant. The place changed owners and the new owner thought he could make a quick buck or two. So he closed the Center, made some improvements, and put it up for sale. … Well, It never sold.
This is the sad and shameful story of how greed overcame good common sense, turned out the children and closed a center that has functioned as a needed community resource for 26 years, all to end in stupidity.
The former Children’s Energy Center, at 4689 Santa Monica Avenue, is back up for sale – this time for the third time.
The former administrator for the Energy Center was Chris Yule, who told me then in 2009 about the then owner – Thomas Funke- and his motives for closing the center down:
Bottom line the place closed because the owner needed monies for his other real estate purchases. It was a real shame for it to close down, then be fixed up, and then sit empty for three years,we could have been teaching kids for those three years.”
Before the Children’s Energy Center was at that site, it had been owned by Margarate Franklin in the late 1970s, and was run as the Playhouse Nursery School. So, the site has been a long, historical part of the area of Ocean Beach dedicated to the community’s children.
And now four homes were going in. And the renters who will lease the homes will enjoy the site, very near the center of the village.
One last point: when I spoke to Chris Yule 4 years ago, she mentioned that she believed that one of the structures that made up the Center had some interesting history to it. It had been at one time, supposedly, part of the old mess hall up at Camp Elliot, and been moved down to Ocean Beach many moons ago. Any OB historian have any info on that aspect?