Saratoga Condos Being Readied – Are All the Units Already Rented?

by on December 17, 2014 · 24 comments

in Economy, Environment, History, Ocean Beach

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn site at the waterfront condos being built at Saratoga and Abbott in Ocean Beach, it’s clear that the 3-story building is nearing completion.

We were out there last week, and saw dozens of workers trying to get the 10-unit complex ready by January 2015.

New cement had been poured at one of the entrances to the partial-underground parking area off Abbott, and workers were prepping the surface. A guy who appeared to be a foreman told me that his work had to be finished by that week.

Not far from them was a small team working on some kind of lines, it appeared.

Up in the second floor, white-collared men seemed to be dealing with high-tech equipment.

Over at the front of the complex – facing the grassy Saratoga Park – more people were busy as well, and a crane was helping workers make some adjustments on the 2nd floor.

The new development looks ready from the outside.  But from the outside, it’s difficult to tell just what condition the interior of the million-dollar condos are in. And the rumor on the street is that all the condos have been rented out already, that would be 9, as one is being retained by the owners/ management for their own purposes.

This is the complex that had a controversial beginning and replaced some old, inexpensive apartments and the dilapidated building that once housed the original Hodads.

Here is a repost of the timeline of the site and project:

timeline of the controversial project:

  • August 65, 2008:  OB Planning Board by a vote of 4 to 3 agreed to allow the city to vacate the alleys behind the land at end of Saratoga and Abbott so that the developer of the project could put 2 additional units into his project. In return, the Parks and Rec department will be compensated for the 2700 square feet of land in question.
  • January 30, 2009: Coastal Commission issues its Coastal Development Permit to build the new structures. Interestingly enough, the Permit includes this language:  “Expiration: If development has not commenced, the permit will expire two years from the date on which the Commission voted on the application.” (Our emphasis.)
  • November 2009: the Coastal Commission approves the original plans for demolishing the current 15 units of the four detached buildings, including the former location of Hodad’s, and the construction of a two- story, 30 foot high 12-unit condo building, that would sit over a 27-space subterranean parking garage. The two alleys that border the west and south sides of the property will be eliminated, and half of the alleys will become the property of the new development. The entire alley area will be turfed for pedestrian use and open space.
  • In July 2010, the property sold for $3.8 million, cash, to buyer entitled 1984 Abbott LLC, c/o Clark Realty Capital LLC, 3655 Nobel Drive, Suite 500, San Diego. Clark Realty is an Arlington, Va., headquartered real estate company.  The new owners plans on developing 12 new townhomes with an average projected unit floor plan of 1,200 square feet.
  • Summer 2010: Local OB architect Steven Lombardi presented his drawings to the OB Planning Board.  There are a number of outstanding issues about this site, including the underground garage being built in a flood zone, the city giving up property adjacent to park land allowing the developers to intensify the project.  Importantly, the OB Planning Board requested the new owners to consult with local architects, and bring a preliminary design to the planning board before they finalized their plans. The public right of way “give-away” concerns revolve around the fact the property line actually runs right down the middle of that right-of-way, and if vacated, half reverts to City property (park space) and half reverts to the owner’s use.  But some believe that the City did not own all of that land, but had a right to use it that was based upon an obsolete public purpose.
  • Sometime between the Summer of 2010 and the Fall of 2011, the proposed project switched hands.  It was taken over by Marengo Morton Architects, Inc., with Claude Anthony Marengo leading the re-newed efforts to throw the project up.   Because of changes, Marengo applies to the Coastal Commission for their approval of his amendment, bypassing the OB Planning Board.
  • September 7, 2011:  the project’s original architect, Steve Lombardi, returns to the Planning Board to inform them that the entity who had purchased the plans and permits for the Ocean Park Villas project has proceeded to make significant changes to the design (his design) and is attempting to proceed with the amendments to the Permit with the Coastal Commission under the concept of “substantial conformance”.
  • September 21, 2011: Coastal Commission staff issues report, and recommends approval of amendment for development to proceed under the old Coastal Permit, despite many changes to the original design. Staff opines that new designs are in “substantial conformance” of earlier, approved design. (Details below.)
  • November 2, 2011: The OB Planning Board votes 9 to 2 to approve the new plans.
  • November 2012: Residents of current buildings receive order to vacate by Jan. 2, 2013
  • Early 2013 – Construction to begin

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

cc December 17, 2014 at 11:20 am

bet they’ll love their million dollar view of homeless people sleeping outside their balcony


david millette December 17, 2014 at 2:21 pm

In this country their shouldn’t be homeless


cc December 17, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Well there are, and they’re asleep on the ground in that photo 100 feet away from a place someone is about to pay a lot of money for.


Geoff Page December 17, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Slight correction.

“100 feet away from a place someone is about to pay a lot of money for and make a lot of money from as vacation rentals.”


Geoff Page December 17, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Nice job, as always, by the OB Rag keeping us all informed. Thanks for that.

Two comments.

The compensation for the two alley vacations was a mere $50,000 so the developer could have two more units. We got a raw deal, a very raw deal on that because one alley paralleled the park, that land could have increased the size of the park. The other alley paralleled the parking lot, that land could have been used to enhance the parking lot.

The other comment is minor but is a pet peeve of mine being in the construction business. Cement is a component of concrete. Cement is not poured, concrete is poured. And while this doesn’t appear in the article, just in case it ever crops up, as a former heavy equipment operator I have to mention that you don’t “drive” construction machinery, you “operate” it.


david millette December 17, 2014 at 2:24 pm

you forgot the crane that’s not a crane its a Dyna lift forklift


david millette December 17, 2014 at 2:25 pm

sorry just Dyna Lift no forks


unwashedwallmartTHONG December 17, 2014 at 6:39 pm

Concrete is placed.


Geoff Page December 18, 2014 at 7:51 am

Yes, you are correct, concrete is placed, but I figured making another correction, that really is a fine point, was just piling on. And, many people in the industry do say “poured” instead of placed. They don’t say that “cement” is poured or placed. Journalists do the best they can writing about a variety of industries and businesses. Holding them to the exact language of each would be unfair I think. Just my opinion.


Seth December 17, 2014 at 8:21 pm

FWIW, while they are not open during construction, the public will/should have access to 100% of the former alley areas.


Geoff Page December 18, 2014 at 7:54 am

That may be Seth, but no one will be able to park cars in the area to the south and I doubt very seriously that the owners will allow people to wander right up the to west side and picnic. But, let’s see what happens. My prediction is that you will see patio furniture and tables and some kind of passive barriers like plants or little low fences.


CK December 18, 2014 at 6:45 pm

This location is in the appeal zone to the coastal commission beyond the CDP approval through the City. Public access is a major point of contention to get CCC staff attention. ..


Seth December 19, 2014 at 6:15 pm

Certainly something that needs to be kept an eye on, Geoff.

Based on where the rear fencing is located in the above picture — and if I recall correctly, language that dictates the former alleys be resodded — the former alley should more or less function as extra park space on the western side. The southern side is much smaller, and conceivably could have eventually allowed for extra parking spaces, but only after the City jumped through years of red tape.


Geoff Page December 17, 2014 at 3:06 pm

Good catch. Honestly, equipment is identified incorrectly so often in all media that I’ve almost become immune to it. I can’t say how many times I’ve seen “skip loader” used to refer to a bulldozer…


John O. December 17, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Finally, a place to call home in Ocean Beach. The new tenants are really excited to move in to their unit after the beginning of the year, and it is great to see all of the interest in the new condos. The 1800 sq feet may not feel large enough, but we all make sacrifices. Thank you all for your support.
As for the aforementioned homeless, the city will likely begin to enforce public congregation rules which will thankfully eliminate the issue. We should all rejoice… North County comes to Ocean Beach.
The raw deal provided much needed cash to a budget strapped city at the time. Obviously, the raw deal was good enough, and though it did provide a windfall in terms of added square feet, it also eliminates areas of public urination and trash… thereby reducing city costs.
Lastly, the new units really add the kind of flare to the village that will attract vacationers to the great town of Ocean Beach.
…… or maybe the tide of gentrification has turned ……


Geoff Page December 17, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Nice piece of satire, assuming it was meant to be satire.


Catherine December 17, 2014 at 5:22 pm

This is way better than what was there before, it’s so much more open.


Geoff Page December 18, 2014 at 7:56 am

We all see things differently. I preferred it when Dempsey’s was there and you could get a great breakfast with the beach only yards away.


nostalgic December 17, 2014 at 11:54 pm

How does this building meet the 30 ft. height requirements?


Geoff Page December 18, 2014 at 7:56 am

It does, the OBPB did make sure of that.


Frank Gormlie December 18, 2014 at 9:13 am

Geoff, David, and Unwashed – thank you for your comments in helping to correct the text, as it was mainly a pictorial essay, and obviously, not a lot of thought went into the actual writing at the front end. I,too, worked in construction during my yout, and got to “drive” and “operate” a forklift, totally untrained, piling, stacking or whatever the industry now calls it, placing roofing materials on roofs for the roofers to roof. Had some near accidents. I recall one right in OB; I had operated the forklift and placed the material on the roof of a 2-story apartment along West Pt Loma Ave, but had to climb up the extended “arm” (what do you call it Geoff?) of the lift to unlatch the pallet – and as I was climbing up, the forklift started to tilt – JIMMINY CRICKET or is it CONCRETE?


Geoff Page December 18, 2014 at 10:29 am

You’re very lucky to still be around, Frank. In all my years on construction sites, the one machine that I saw on its side more than any other was the forklift. It was a combination of a machine that is not well balanced usually operated by just about anyone who was in the vicinity when something needed to be moved. Glad you came through it OK.


da john December 20, 2014 at 11:13 am

To much white stucco.

To the person who said it was way better than before. It would be interesting to know why the original owners decided not to keep up the previous places. It’s easy to get some momentum going behind a redevelopment project when the current situation has been neglected for decades.


Debbie September 15, 2015 at 7:47 pm

Did this garage floor today during the rains?

in the comments by Peter he states “This Lamborghini is owned by career internet Con Artist Matthew Trainer.”


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