Demolition Work Begins on ‘Ocean Beach Plaza’

by on July 10, 2017 · 4 comments

in Ocean Beach

For any casual passerby of the old medical and dental offices building at the corner of Cable Street and Santa Monica Avenue, it’s very obvious demolition work on the site at 1929 Cable Street has made significant progress.

It’s the one-and-only “Ocean Beach Plaza” – a coming commercial-only complex of nearly a dozen business spaces with a total of over 10,400 square feet. The owner of this near-half acre of prime OB property is John Small, a well-known and long-time Newport Avenue business and property owner. Small owns a couple of bars – Sunshine

Artist rendering of planned Ocean Beach Plaza

Company and Tony’s, plus other buildings on Newport Avenue.

Yet, this project is arguably one of the most important commercial developments to come to Ocean Beach in recent years.

The project was approved by the Ocean Beach Planning Board by a vote of 8 to 1 in early August 2015. All the medical and dental offices were emptied – although the dry cleaning business still stands – then the lot was fenced, except for the parking area; it stood empty for many a moon, getting trashed up and becoming a site for homeless living. Until just recently.


John Small – owner of planned OB Plaza.

Here’s how we described the complex in August 2015:

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. …

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, [Architect Lee] 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. …

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.

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.

OB Rag Aug 7 2015



Another drawing of Ocean Beach Plaza.



Chair John Ambert holds up more drawings.



Pete Ruscitti has the floor.

(For you OB history buffs, the original building was built in 1955, the dry-cleaning store used to be the site of Rebel Bakers, an organic and vegetarian bakery and later the Androgyny Center.)

Here’s remaining reporting from Aug 5, 2015:

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.


From June 22, 2015 OB Rag


From Aug 3, 2015 OB Rag


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

john July 10, 2017 at 12:40 pm

Horrible architecture. What a waste. The building was a good example of mid-century commercial architecture and part of the historic downtown core of OB. Now this is GONE…..This is not good for the community. A better solution was to rehabilitate. (please spare me the details of why this cannot be done- it is not true.) OB needed to keep this building. In fact keeping the building and installing a Starbucks inside the rehabilitated building would have been a much better alternative than demolition and construction of this very poor design.


gregg July 10, 2017 at 2:27 pm

I totally agree with you, shitty architecture. The only redeeming quality is that it addresses the street lending to a more pedestrian friendly environment. In other words the parking isn’t on the corner with the building in the back. This project should of had a housing component as well.


Nancy Witt July 10, 2017 at 4:48 pm

Good comments made and THANK YOU, Frank, for your reporting. Time for me to make you a donation for all your work. You are very thorough.


Frank Gormlie July 11, 2017 at 10:34 am

Thank you Nancy.


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