Gentrification in Action in Ocean Beach – 3 Projects Tell the Story

by on July 10, 2017 · 9 comments

in Ocean Beach

If you look closely, you can actually see gentrification in action here in Ocean Beach.

There’s at least 3 projects right now in Ocean Beach that tell the story, where the potential opportunity to build gentrifying structures and future short-term vacation rentals is just too great to resist. Check these projects out.

4651 and 4653 Orchard

A lot is going on at 4651 and 4653 Orchard. The permit was pulled by Expedited Permits of San Diego, for the property owner, Farrow Trust 11-24-15. There’s been a scope change to this project. Now, it states that the project includes permits for remodel and additions to 2 existing single dwelling units on two different lots.

Work on 4651 includes a partial demolition with a complete remodel and an addition of a new second floor and detached guest quarter.  And work on 4653 includes a partial demolition also with a complete remodel and detached guest quarters. Retaining walls of 5 feet by 3 feet are included.

This is a puzzling project. 2 separate lots; 2 single family units each get a partial demolition and a complete remodel. 4651 gets a second floor and a “detached guest quarter”, while 4653 also gets a partial demo and complete rehab plus “detached guest quarters”.

Now, are these planned “detached guest quarters” future short-term rentals? This project was the subject of a recent “Reader Rant” on the OB Rag.

4719 Bermuda

The permit for 4719 Bermuda is for a Process 2 Coastal Development Permit for demolition of an existing single family residence, and the construction of two, 3-story single family residences.

The permit applicant is Tim Seaman, with the project manager being Derrick Johnson, at (619) 446-5477.

Attached notice.

The site is advertised:

Existing 921 sqft home on 7000 sqft lot with plans to build either a 3200 sqft single family home or a twinhome on a double lot. Great investment in a coveted area near the beach, shops and dining!

But 3 stories? Will all those trees come down?

5162 and 5162 1/2 Cape May

Pretty cute, eh, from the front on Cape May?

The 2 beachfront cottages at 5162 and 5162 1/2 Cape May have just been sold, as we understand it. The property was listed for $1.5 million.

From the advertising remarks, it seems the agent was encouraging any prospective buyers to tear down the existing cottages:

From the alley.

Beachcomber’s paradise – directly on an incredibly wide sandy beach. Two old bungalows and a separate garage.

Cottages have no monetary value. The roofs, plumbing & wiring all very old. Property grossly under-utilized. One tenant just moved and the other tenant is month-to-month. Cottages have no intrinsic value but the location is sterling. Detached garage is accessed from paved street on the north end of the property. Estate trust sale not subject to court confirmation.

The road to gentrification for a community is made by a thousand decisions. Everyone has a right to develop their own property – within limits, of course. But when all any new-investor or developer wants to do is build maximum height with maximum width for a 2 or 3 story, high-priced condo – it’s that decision multiplied by a thousand others that flow in the same direction that has significant consequences; you end up with a community undergoing gentrification and the construction of future high-priced short-term vacation rentals. And pretty soon, you’ve lost your community.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristin Sturdevant July 10, 2017 at 6:39 pm

GREED. It seems rampant in the country. Why should I have thought O.B would escape this? I wish I could help fight this. Thank you.


bobo July 10, 2017 at 7:08 pm

Honest question to the community:
I took an informal survey this morning in the 3 blocks surrounding my house (west of Sunset Cliffs Blvd.) and of the 72 lots, all but 13 had multiple units. Many being built years ago. Clearly they were allowed to recognize income.
Question is: When is a remodel / extension of a home with the addition of a rental property considered acceptable? When a homeowner actually lives on the property? (that is my guess)

The examples & criticisms here are valid because it seems these are properties with the owners absent. Meaning 100% of the property will be some type of rental (long-term or short-term/vacation). And I agree 100% that STVRs are bad for the community – with the exception of an owner/resident who is present renting out a unit as an STVR.

But it seems that an owner of a property in OB can’t do much of anything without facing heavy criticism. In the case of these properties, they seem like they needed work – especially the one on Cape May. Rebuilding/remodeling without an income generating part isn’t economically feasible. To expect all homeowners to never build an apartment on their property is asking them to walk away from badly needed income and allow their houses to deteriorate. We don’t know the intent of the property owners. STVR, LTVR, occupy and do both? Who knows.

As a homeowner who lives in an older house in OB I’m faced with this problem:
-live in and plan to stay in my OB home for the remainder of my years
-needs MAJOR repairs and is too small (less than 500 sq/ft) to house my family of 3
-can’t qualify for a remodeling loan without recognizing future rental revenue
-majority of my neighbors are collecting rent income to subsidize their expenses
-want to balance my personal needs with those of the community

So what is a homeowner to do when faced with the need to rehab and expand a crumbling house?


john July 10, 2017 at 9:24 pm

the answer is to keep your footprint modest and within reasonable community acceptance. Most people are fine with the need to make some $$,. But be honest. They just do not want to be exploited for pure profit and have the community change. (become short term rental, or rent to people who do not have a day to day interest in their local environment. ) Just take a little, not a lot. Save. It all works out for the better.


denine July 10, 2017 at 8:46 pm

This just breaks my heart.


mjt July 11, 2017 at 12:33 pm

High rents push us into the streets. Cap rents and the amount of income property an individual or corporation can own.
An example is Trumps son in law owning sixty thousand apartments. When that much property is controlled they make the market.
Instead of one person owning sixty thousand rentals, if ten thousand people owned six rentals, then the market would have diversity in rents.

As long as rents continue to skyrocket homelessness will increase.


Eric July 12, 2017 at 10:33 am

Rents continue to skyrocket because it’s really expensive to buy even a modest property. To suggest that everyone is in it for greed is not true. Some like myself want to create a nice, safe and comfortable place to live that fits in with the neighborhood but to do that takes money and that money comes from rents. My particular property had no maintenance done to it for a very long time. We needed roofs, windows, all plumbing (water and sewer), all the electrical, lots of termite damage, fences, water heaters, paint, railings, floors, cleaning etc etc etc etc. Does that make me greedy by having to raise rents to just break even?? Taxes and mortgage rates are extraordinary for property owners. It costs an insane amount to rehab or bring a rental property up to code and maintain it, particularly after a previous owner let the property go to hell (like the properties in this article, those previous owners are the greedy ones). Just to make the bank note, taxes and numerous fees a property needs to be improved so that rents can be increased. If a rental goes into disrepair to keep rents cheap then people scream and threaten to sue. You can’t have it both ways.


bobo July 12, 2017 at 11:26 am

Hi Eric, that’s partially the narrative I was saying.
In order to keep properties from falling into squalor, it takes money. The negative effects of homes that are allowed to go neglected far exceed the gentrification concerns. A blighted neighborhood increases crime, poverty, health issues, and economic stress.
If no other homeowners (other than those who already have rental units) are allowed to reasonably realize income potential for their houses, gentrification in reverse will happen.
There should be a reasonable balance of affordable housing and the ability of homeowners to afford to maintain their properties. Long-term rental units allowed in homes where property owners live is a valuable source of income for the city, provides affordable housing for working-class neighbors, and keeps the ‘hood what it is: a place to live.
I believe that by painting all property owners who try to improve on their homes as greedy will only make it worse on everyone.


Marc Snelling July 12, 2017 at 3:09 pm

Of the many projects that go before the OB Planning Board only a small number face significant opposition. That is hardly “painting all property owners”. How is it that blight creates poverty? Isn’t it the other way around. Blight is seen as a great money-making opportunity to those looking to redevelop – and seems to be a very loosely applied term in San Diego. It ain’t Detroit.


Hunter July 18, 2017 at 3:41 pm

As long as they go to families or people that live in OB – all the best!


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