What’s Shaking in Ocean Beach?

by on September 8, 2014 · 12 comments

in Culture, Economy, Environment, History, Ocean Beach

What’s shaking in OB? Not an earthquake. But plenty of other things make the coastal village a happening place – especially in construction and new businesses.

On a recent tour of Ocean Beach, I discovered the following developments:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEntryway Project Improvements

There’s lots happening at OB’s Entryway Project – at the corner of Sunset Cliffs Blvd and West Pt Loma Avenue.  The project at the frontdoor of OB has a history of delay, so any momentum forward is certainly welcome.

The ground has all been torn up in order for the contractors to install the improvements. So much for all those native species supposedly planted. (A couple community groups did a clean-up exactly 2 years ago on the lot – and caught some criticism for pulling up native species. – Okay, one of the community groups was the OB Rag.)

The improvements include underground drainage, new concrete walls, some paths, lighting – BUT not a path from the Entryway into Robb Field, a bordering park. Which is certainly a puzzlement. As Councilman Ed Harris’ aide, Chet Barfield announced at a recent OB Planning Board meeting, there’s good news and bad news.  The bad news is the delay – it won’t be completed until November. The good news is that there doesn’t need to be a Phase 3 – everything will be finished during this current phase.

The Green Fields of Robb Field – Can We Really Afford Them During this Drought?

Meanwhile, over in Robb Field, the temporary fencing of the soccer fields have been removed (apparently, now an annual tradition), and the other large fields are keeping their green-ness. But not from reclaimed water, oh no, from fresh water right out of the faucet – so to speak. That’s alot of water for all those green fields.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACan San Diego really afford these green fields in the midst of  this historic drought?  The green fields are nice – how can you play soccer on a dirt field? you might ask – but how can we rationalize using our precious water to keep these massive areas sparkling green?  This also goes to golf courses, cemeteries, and other public facilities – like schools – that have lots of green grass.

Construction Progress – the 4th Huge House on West Pt Loma Being Prepped

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs everyone knows, there’s lots of construction going on all over the village. Over on the 5100 block of West Pt Loma Boulevard – the block of contention, the block that is the front line of OB’s challenge from gentrification – the fourth 3 story house is being readied to being built.

The old duplex was torn down after the tenants were kicked out, and now the ground is prepared for the construction of another single-family mcmansion to take its place next to the other 3.  The others were the source of one of the largest issues in the ongoing battle to  have the OB Community Plan approved on all levels. (The City Council approved it – and now it goes before the Calif Coastal Commission in October.)

Abbott Street Condo Project

Of course, OB’s largest construction project, the building of a 3-story, 10-unit condo complex at the corner of Abbott and Saratoga, continues its progress. (We used to call the project the “Saratoga project”, but its main impact is upon Abbott Street.)

This project, more than any other within the last 3 decades that has occurred within the village, will alter OB’s waterfront. Units will sell in the 7-digit range, and the rents will be very exclusive. The project also includes some improvements to the Saratoga Park.


Over on Santa Monica Avenue, kitty-corner to the OB Rec Center, there is another project that has entered a new phase.  With the first 2 units being built – and possibly sold (it looks like one of them has someone living in it), the next two two-story single-family residences now  have wood frames up.  Someone remarked to this author recently that people living in the middle two units won’t get any breeze.

CVS “Pharmacy” or “Health”

One of the largest commercial projects is the total rehab by CVS in the old Apple Tree Market. There’s lots of activity going on – but  the interior hasn’t had that many changes, it appears, from the last time this reporter checked.

CVS corporate, you’ve probably heard, is removing all tobacco products from its stores, and dropping the name “pharmacy” which is being replaced with “health”. But the signs of the store will not reflect this change, so will the consumer notice or care?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhere’s the New Apple Tree Market?

Speaking of the old Apple Tree Market, we couldn’t see any progress being made at the old Rock Paper Scissors store on Newport Avenue. A new one has been promised by the owner, especially now that he knows the new CVS will not be selling fresh food.  Anyhow, we couldn’t see into the interior of the building, the former Bank of America.

 Business News on Newport Ave. – The Electric Chair Celebrates 30 Years

There’s several things to report from Newport Avenue, the main commercial street of the Village of OB.  For instance, OB’s The Electric Chair is celebrating its 30th anniversary. It was 3 decades ago that Paul Bolton opened his 2-chair establishment on Newport.

(That’s Rosie in the above pic – she’s been with them for many an año.) It was a hole in the wall next to the Strand Theater. Later, of course, he and his partner, Lynn, opened up where the hair-cutting place is now, and the interior has over the years undergone several transformations. Why, there used to be a jacuzzi in the back for employees.

Lynn and Paul then got into art, sponsoring local teenagers’ rock bands, a theatre venue, and … much more.

A New Sushi Place – Taika – Opens

A brand new sushi restaurant has opened – Taika Sushi – and is holding its Grand Opening. Somebody let us know how the food is, pu-leese.

New Mural on Old Historic Pharmacy Building

A new mural has appeared on the old, historic pharmacy building at the corner of Newport and Bacon.

“Atlantic Ethnic Food” Coming Soon?

There’s signs on the boarded up windows of the old check-cashing store on Newport, telling us that coming soon is something called “Atlantic Ethnic Food”. That place has been closed for quite a time, and another restaurant on that block will contribute to changes occurring that challenge that block down by the sea for cuisine supremacy. Doe anyone know what kind of food this is?

Voltaire “Holistic Science”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother new business making its face known around OB is over on Voltaire Street, the other main commercial drag in town. This is the Holistic Science store. Check it out.

This was the tour, from Friday, September 5, 2014. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I had in experiencing and conducting it. How about a comment and hit the “like” button, hey?

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

cg September 8, 2014 at 11:59 am

“ano” needs a tilde or it doesn’t mean what you intend it to mean!


Frank Gormlie September 8, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Well, it’s in italics, and I don’t know how to make a tilde.


Pedro Tavares September 8, 2014 at 2:48 pm

copy & paste, Frank: ñ


Frank Gormlie September 8, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Thank you, thank you. I did it. ñ


Frank Gormlie September 8, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Now, how about responding to some of the issues raised in this post? Like too much water on the green fields; like no path between the Entryway and Robb Field ….


OBdadA September 8, 2014 at 1:05 pm

” ˜ ” = optioN ” n ” { oN a MAC aNywaY }


OB Mercy September 8, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Here’s my Yelp review of Taika Sushi…..

Kimono my house! Never liked the band, Sparks, but always loved that title of one of their albums and now I’ve used it here….don’t know why…because it’s vaguely Japanese?? Well, there is nothing vague about Taika…it’s the sake….BOMB! Speaking of which….$1 sake bombs here! But, I digress….

On my first visit here last week, my friend and I were really happy to taste such fresh sushi in OB and the prices…wow, they are beyond reasonable. My litmus test for sushi is….how tasty and fresh is their Hamachi…or yellowtail. It was SO fresh and yummers. For my friend, it’s salmon, which has never been one of my fave sushi choices, but I do love it cooked. Well, I had one of hers and we both flipped over each other’s choices, supa dupa fresh!

We ordered a Dragon and a Volcano roll and loved those too. Today I went by myself and ordered the Spicy Albacore Roll…delish! I also had eel and hamachi nigiris….they did not disappoint! My only criticism is that I would like any Tempura shrimp inside (this one in the Albacore) roll to be freshly fried. This one had been sitting awhile, so I gotta let Tim (the owner) know this. He’s very open to listening to what you have to say and seems to really want you to be pleased.

I could not be happier. FINALLY, a GREAT sushi place inside the bubble!!


Carrie Gray September 8, 2014 at 7:36 pm

What about the Northwest corner of Voltaire and Sunset Cliffs? That is a big question mark for me . Any ideas ?


Frank Gormlie September 8, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Carrie – no mystery at all. It’s World Oil’s Sunset Plaza – see this http://obrag.org/?p=74382


Carrie Gray September 8, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Thanks for the heads up ! I appreciate it. Personally, I am happy to hear it will be something more then and empty lot and not just another gas station.


Geoff Page September 9, 2014 at 8:22 am

I regularly run by the area of Rob Field that they are reseeding and I had a similar thought to yours, Frank. But then I thought, we all need some green space to enjoy and it is beautiful. What would make the most sense to me would be to allow the City to keep the parks green like this so folks would have some place like this to enjoy but couple that with a ban on lawns and landscaping for homes and businesses to save water. The parks could be oases for everyone and I’m sure the water for them is only a fraction of the water people are currently using for their homes and the water businesses are using. Our office just moved out of one of the two tall high rises on I8 just east of the 805 owned by the Irvine Company. The buildings are surrounded by lush lawns and other landscaping that gets heavily watered every day. That’s the kind of thing that has to stop.

As for the new gateway entrance next to Rob Field, why would we spend the money and effort on that and not have direct access through it to the park. What is the problem? Does anyone know what happened?


Sophia September 15, 2014 at 8:09 pm

I appreciate these roundups of activity in the neighborhood. We moved away a few years ago but still have a rental home in OB. Love being able to peek in on your webpage and see what’s going on (and going up) in the neighborhood.


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