“Ocean Beach Plaza” Approved By OB Planners

by on August 7, 2015 · 4 comments

in Culture, Economy, Environment, History, Ocean Beach


Artist rendering – without color – of planned Ocean Beach Plaza for the corner of Cable Street and Santa Monica Ave.

Editor: See our update from July 10, 2017 here.

The so-called “Ocean Beach Plaza” was approved by the OB Planning Board last Wednesday night, by a vote of 8 to 1.  Once approved and given the go-ahead by the City, the project will be constructed at the southeast corner of the intersection of Cable Street and Santa Monica.


With camera rolling, architect Lee Hope addresses the Board.

Lee Hope, the architect for the project, made the presentation on behalf of the owner, John Small, who was in attendance at the meeting on August 5th along with a couple dozen others in the audience – including a newsman and cameraman from Channel 8 (on hand for the OB Plaza issue).

Small owns – besides this near-half acre of prime OB property, a couple of bars – Sunshine Company and Tony’s, plus other buildings on Newport Avenue.


John Small – owner of planned OB Plaza.

The much-anticipated project had several surprises.

First, it is all one-story with pitched roofs and overhangs and elevated ceilings; it is all commercial – no residences are included in the design; there is really nothing in the design that has elements of a “plaza”; and the dry-cleaning shop will remain, although the exterior will be rehabbed.

Hope explained before generally a supportive Board that the original building was built in 1955, but when the owner considered a remodel, he found there was no market for doctors’ offices – which is the design. (Throughout the evening’s presentation, Small was constantly being referred to as “the owner”, although he was in the back of the room and never introduced or acknowledged.)

Most of the current buildings will be demolished – all but 900 square feet – and 10,400 square feet of general commercial space will be created. There will be – currently – spaces for 10 to 11 commercial tenants, Hope said.  The owner hopes that the City will allow a small eatery – not a full restaurant – in the space. Full restaurants require double the parking – and that couldn’t be accommodated, Hope added.


Another drawing of Ocean Beach Plaza.

The largest tenant space, Hope said, will be 1,261 square feet, and the next largest, 1,075 square feet. There will be parking spaces for 25 vehicles.


Chair John Ambert holds up more drawings.

The design includes a type of colonnade from Cable Street to the parking in the rear of the lot. When asked for elements of a “plaza” in the design, Hope pointed to the colonnade as a narrow walk space that had something of one. The building will be wood with stucco. The architect tried to point out that in terms of current buildings recently constructed for comparison, the new “plaza” would look like Pizza Port.


Pete Ruscitti has the floor.

In terms of feedback from the Board members, these were made: the Board looks to new projects for additional value to the community from the construction; this project has a very distinct facade and will change the character of the corner in positive ways.

Another Board member – Pete Ruscitti – noted that the project would have more community support if locally-owned businesses are allowed into the facility. Hope assured everyone that the owner is not into big chains, and “will go out of his way not to offend people.”


Larger-than-normal crowd fills the community room at the OB Rec Center.

The one Board member who voted to oppose the project, Drew Wilson, took the owner to task for not including any housing in the project, accusing him of not making a long-term investment in the community as the materials being used mean it will have to be replaced in 20 to 30 years he said.

John Ambert commented that “we’re in a transition period between the old styles and the new.”

Craig Klein asked: “Is this the highest, best use for this location – especially when the city and our Plan talk about mixed-used?”

After this writer asked Hope about any elements of a “plaza” in the current design, Hope admitted that the name could change.

In the end, a motion to approve the project was made, and the vote was 8 to 1 in favor, with Drew casting the lone ‘no’ vote and Klein slipping out before the vote was taken.

 Editor: Additional news from the Aug. 5 meeting of the OB Planning Board will be forth coming.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

RB August 7, 2015 at 12:24 pm

It is my understanding that while Mr Small still owns the buildings, he no longer operates the businesses in his properties such as the Sunshine, Tony’s, etc. John Small’s investment in Ocean Beach has been a big positive for the Newport Avenue area and for community members living in his rentals.


rocky August 7, 2015 at 1:53 pm

why no apartments we need housing in OB what a waste of space and it should be made out of http://buildblock.com/


Tyler August 11, 2015 at 4:05 pm

It’s a commercial building in one of 2 real commercial zones for OB. I think it will provide great benefit and more OB commerce. We need more local businesses that arent bars or restaurants.


Hunter Bjorkman July 18, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Mixed-Use is what is needed – the housing crisis is incredible.

Throw residences up top – make the center a courtyard/plaza.

If it looks like Pizza Port – not the best design imo.


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