Changes in North-West Ocean Beach: Vacant Lot at Voltaire and Abbott Sold, Pat’s Liquor and Cottages Up for Sale

by on November 27, 2013 · 19 comments

in Culture, Economy, Environment, History, Ocean Beach

Voltaire 509- emtylot

Corner lot at Abbott and Voltaire has been sold.

Editor: There are changes afoot in north-west OB, particularly at the corner of Abbott and Voltaire.  Here is Matthew Wood’s latest report.

OB Rag Confirms Pat’s Liquor Up for Sale

By Matthew Wood

The long-vacant lot at the southeast corner of Voltaire and Abbott Streets has just been recently sold, which may spark a domino effect of land sales on that corner.

Voltaire emty lot2 mw

View of vacant lot just sold, looking north across Voltaire to Pat’s Liquor. The lot has been empty for decades and is currently utilized by residents of adjacent cottages. (Photo by Matthew Wood)

Ray Adams, of Cassidy Turley Commercial Real Estate, confirmed the two lots had been sold for $635,000. The lots are 2,500 square feet each – 5,000 square feet total – and are zoned for residential housing.  The Keen Family Trust was the seller.

He said the lots could probably be used for a maximum of three units.

“You probably can’t build any more there,” he said.

Voltaire emptylot mwCottages Also Up for Sale

Adams also confirmed the cottages adjacent to and east of the empty lot that was just sold were on the market, property also owned by the Keen Family Trust. The asking price for the four lots – with seven cottages and five garages – is $1.6 million. The cottages are in a gated or fenced complex, which currently has a “For Rent” sign outside asking for $1,200 a month for one of the units.

“It’s a cash-flow investment property,” Adams said of the future of the cottages. “There’s a lot of value in the existing units.”

Pat’s Liquor for Sale

Directly across Voltaire from the vacant lot is Pat’s Liquor. And the OB Rag has confirmed that the property is also for sale.

Voltaire pats liquor

Pat’s Liquor market has been around so long, we can’t find a local who remembers when it went in. One local told us, “It’s been on that corner at least since the 1950s.”
The market used to advertise on the original OB People’s Rag. (Photo by Matthew Wood)

Dan Ryan, of Coldwell Bank, said the 10,000 square feet of land from the corner to the alley is on the market for $1.545 million. That land includes the old market, a fixture in the neighborhood for at least the past 50 years at 5096 Voltaire Street.

“He’s asking a lot for it and nobody’s making an offer,” said store owner Basil Zetouna referring to the property owner.

Ryan said the land would probably be zoned for six condo units if and when it sells, but “we don’t have any plans or permits yet.”

Zetouna said he has a lease on Pat’s Liquor Store for the next three years, so nothing is imminent. He told me:

“I’m still in negotiation with them. I would love to stay.”

Voltaire Pat LiquorRyan said he has talked to people who would like to see something different at that location.

“I know we have talked to some people who don’t want the liquor store there,” he said. “I said, ‘Buy it and close it.’”

Zetouna also owns Abbott Street Market just down the block at 2074 Abbott St., as well as the building, and said he has no plans to close that store. He said his dream would be to one day move into the space above the store.

“That’s gonna be my retirement,” he said. “I would love to live that close to the beach. It would be like Hawaii every day for me.”

Voltaire 5096 aerial PatLiq

The corner of Voltaire and Abbott – showing Pat’s Liquor at northeast end and the vacant lot – now sold – on the southeast side, with 7 cottages next door up for sale.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave Rice November 27, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Interesting re: the vacant lot selling separate of the cottages, especially since it’s been off-street parking for them for so long.

Pat’s has been for sale for as long as I can remember – at least dating back to when I lived on the 2200 block of Abbott back in the early 2000s and would walk over there probably 2-3 times a week…


Frank Gormlie November 27, 2013 at 8:17 pm

I was wondering that myself – where will they park now? There are 5 garages included off the alley.


Dave Rice November 27, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Especially in the wake of this story on beach area parking violations by landlords:

10news Story

There are 6 assigned and 2 “up for grabs” parking spots at my complex of five 2-bed units and one 1-bed unit – by law we should have 11, and we’re one of the lucky complexes because we have such an “abundance.”

By law, there would have to be 7 off-street spaces at the Voltaire cottages – my suspicion is that the garages are rented separately (as the 8 garages are at my mother-in-law’s 10 unit, 14 bedroom complex on Cape May with no other off-street options) and thus can’t be counted as resident parking. When I lived on the other side of town it wasn’t uncommon to park 1/4 mile or more from my apartment if I got off work late.

Assuming that most people in San Diego rely on cars for transport, and that 3 of the cottages are single occupancy and 4 are shared by couples (which I don’t think would be a stretch), loss of that lot could put 11 or more cars on the already overcrowded streets of the war zone.


Frank Gormlie December 2, 2013 at 10:59 am

Dave – thanks for the heads-up.


Dave Rice November 27, 2013 at 10:26 pm

I should add to clarify that “legal” is as of today’s zoning laws – I have no idea when my house was split into two apartments and the backyard was turned into a four-plex, or what parking laws were like then. Lots of the units down here, especially places like mine where extra units have been added in what used to be backyards, are likely grandfathered out of having to comply.


Debbie November 28, 2013 at 10:51 am

FYI…more changes on the corner of Voltaire and Catalina. (vacant lot across from 7/11)….construction going on now. Have a good day everybody!


Debra November 29, 2013 at 3:24 pm

I saw that. I wonder what’s going in?


Debbie November 29, 2013 at 5:08 pm

It appears condos….here’s some info in cash you are interested


Frank Gormlie December 2, 2013 at 11:00 am

Debbie – thanks for the link to the construction at Catalina and Voltaire.


SaneVoice December 3, 2013 at 12:12 pm

It’s condos and retail along the Voltaire side. My neighbors and I are are so happy our landlord raised our rents right before the construction began. So joyous to pay extra for the sounds of never-ending backup alarms and dirt everywhere.


mr.rick November 28, 2013 at 7:38 pm

My Mom lived in that court in the photos, and the rent was only a couple hundred bucks. I imagine some us can remember rents of less then 100 dollars a month. Poor people could actually afford to make a life.


obracer December 1, 2013 at 1:37 pm

I think If the Pat’s Liquor property sells we may loose the right to commercial use at that corner, it appears to be zoned RM2 , medium density residential.
Now is the time to change the zoning to CC4-2 during the update of our local community plan. CC4-2 would allow residential, commercial or mixed use.


obecean December 1, 2013 at 5:36 pm

If Pat’s goes, I’d rather see property go low density residential.

Commercial use is an inappropriate throwback at that end of the block.


Dave Rice December 1, 2013 at 9:58 pm

I don’t see a problem with having a single c-store every few blocks in residential areas. And aside from Pat’s, on the other side of the vacant lot on Abbot is a small strip mall with a laundromat (used to be a surf shop too – Rocky’s?), then across the street from that is Newbreak Pizza, a block and a half past that is the Abbott Market – so there is some established precedent for low-profile commercial along Abbott.


OB Mercy December 1, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Yes, Rockys was in that strip mall. but don’t you mean Surfrider Pizza, not Newbreak?? Newbreak is across from main lifeguard tower on Abbott and is not a pizza place.


Frank Gormlie December 2, 2013 at 10:59 am

Yes, you’re right OB Mercy; it’s Surfrider Pizza – damn good too! They also advertise here.


Dave Rice December 2, 2013 at 6:53 pm

You guys are totally right – Newbreak is the two coffee shops, one at the far end of Abbott and the other on Sunset. Don’t know why I got confused on that, but Surfrider is indeed pretty good…


obracer December 2, 2013 at 8:18 am

I think the laundromat, Surfrider & Abbot St market are all on RM_2 lots, not zoned for commercial use either.
I think these existing sites should be protected by re-zoning to cc4-2 and allow services to residents to continue regardless of ownership.
Mixed use is best use in this instance.


gregg sullivan December 2, 2013 at 9:11 am

I agree with obracer


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