There are several signs around Ocean Beach that speak to changes occurring in our little village, some of which show a level of economic rejuvenation – homes are being built from scratch and businesses are moving instead of closing down. These are positive changes for OB.
Of course, not all the changes are positive. Have you seen the fenced off parking lot next to the old Apple Tree? Have you seen the latest example of gentrification in northwest OB?
Homes are coming in.
Case in point: the four new houses being built at the corner of Ebers and Santa Monica. The different grades have been developed – each house has a 2+ foot rise in ground elevation as there is a slope to that block going up Santa Monica. The good news is that these are supposed to be rentals.
And on Newport Avenue, several businesses are moving within OB instead of closing down. For instance, the OB Surf and Skate Shop is splitting into two different places but is holding together as a business. Plus, one of OB’s faves, COW, has moved across the street instead of folding. Another business is celebrating its 20th anniversary and yet another business is just trying to get off the ground by having a booth during Farmer’s Market.
Yes, the surf/ skate shop has to move out of its building (2nd move in several years, unfortunately) due to the building’s owner wanting to take it over for a market. Greg – one of the clerks at the shop – told me that the business is splitting into two facilities: one part, “Ocean Experience” – the learn-to-surf part – is moving to the old Mission Electronics building on Niagara Avenue, a block away. It will sub-let space to Combat Academy, which currently has a room inside the shop (in the old vault area). The surf boards and SUP’s will go there also.
The other part of the business, the retail – the “soft stuff” – will be transferred down the street to the shell shop. And for right now, because of the move, the Surf shop is having a major sale, with 50% off clothing, and good deals on the hard stuff. They’ll probably move sometime between now and March.
The building the surf shop is moving out of used to be Rock, Paper, Scissors and before that the Bank of America. The Apple Tree Market owner was evicted and has pledged to open another market in his edifice on Newport Avenue.
COW, OB’s favorite vinyl and music shop has emptied where it was and has taken up residence across the street, at 5040 Newport. This move has been coming for a while, but we’re just glad to see that the business stayed on Newport and at least in OB.
Abdul’s has had his plans for over a year. Just a little over a decade ago, the BBQ establishment was a hole in the wall tiny place within the old Strand building.
Yet, when it moved across the street, it had so many fans that the OB Planning Board waived certain parking requirements. And now with this large addition, the BBQ House will be moving up to high bar being created by OB restaurants.
Another favorite shop of OBceans is the Black Bead, two doors down from Bacon Street along Newport Ave. The Black Bead has been in OB for 20 years now and is celebrating its anniversary with a party this Saturday, Feb 2nd, from 10:30 to 7pm. There will be cake and refreshments and everyone is invited.
Lynn Muhlenkord owns the store, and with the help of her 3 employees has turned the place into a “must-shop” business if you are into beads of any kind, size, or shape. People from all over San Diego come here. A couple of her people have been there for 5 years plus, always a good sign.
The Black Bead broke away from The Black, next door, 2 decades ago, as it used to be a counter within the larger store. Lynn used to be married to its owner Kurt Kornbusch, but they were divorced 6 years ago, after a marriage of 15 years.
Growing up in Wisconsin, Lynn had moved to Ft Collins in Colorado. She then moved to OB in 1987, and met Kurt 3 months after moving here.
She invites everyone to drop by on Saturday, as there will be discounts of 20%.
OB’s Center Deadened with Closing of Apple Tree Parking Lot
Meanwhile, the center of OB has been deadened by the closing of Apple Tree Market and the fencing off of a half a block of parking. The flower stand and the coffee hut both had to move as well (if anyone knows where they went, leave a comment).
Now – parking – even paid parking – has been drastically curtailed in the center of town due to the fencing off of OB’s main parking lot. How is the closure of this lot affecting traffic and parking elsewhere across OB’s main business district?
Parking used to be free in this huge lot, but at some point paid was implemented and was seriously monitored. This always left a sour taste in many locals mouths. Yet, one has to wonder: why wasn’t the paid parking left? Is it fenced off in order to allow any potential buyer or lessor to grasp its enormity and potential for development? Or was it simply an issue of liability, that the owner of the property didn’t want to risk any while the building is closed?
Plus, what’s the fate of the three artist mural on the side of the former Apple Tree? So many questions. Yet, it seems, the market itself – even though it served many who live in and around the center of the village – had so many critics that many OBceans were not sorry to see it close.
On the Frontlines of Gentrification in OB on West Point Loma Blvd.
Across OB – over in the northwest sector, the process of gentrification slowly grinds away. A large, 3-story single family house is going up along the 5100 block of West Pt Loma, right next to the first huge house built in the immediate neighborhood on that side of the street.
This is the frontlines of gentrification in Ocean Beach right now, a process that removes one class of people and brings in a higher class as the old housing structures are demolished with new ones built, new housing that the former class cannot afford.
Shout-out to OB Ragster-turned Farmers Marketeer
Finally, the OB Rag wants to give a shout-out to one of our former writers and bloggers, Brenda McFarland, who has recently opened her own business, Body Brew, and is usually seen at OB’s Farmers Market on Wednesdays.