Big Changes Could Be Coming to Voltaire Street in Ocean Beach

by on February 15, 2018 · 15 comments

in Ocean Beach

It appears, that for better or worse, the 4800 block of Voltaire Street in Ocean Beach is destined for some big changes. At least that is one likely development.

Two adjacent properties in the middle of the north half of the block are up for sale – and together they represent at least one-sixth or larger of that side of the block.

The property at Dover Plumbing at 4870 Voltaire is up for sale – and the next door property owned by well-known OBcean Jim Bell will also be up for sale.

Combined, these properties form a significant chunk of Voltaire.

It was just about exactly 6 years ago that Dover owners, Scott Hoff and Craig Skinner, moved onto the site, after having been absent for 5 years from Ocean Beach. This is part of our report from March 2012:

Dover Plumbing, 4870 Voltaire

… Dover Plumbing has returned to Voltaire Street. Opening up in the old Staniforth Electric building – next to Jim Bell’s center – the long-time Peninsula business was on Voltaire for decades when the property was bought by World Oil …. That’s when the plumbing firm moved over to West Point Loma, next to Baron’s market.

I spoke to the new owners, Scott Hoff and Craig Skinner – each of whom had worked at Dover’s for years and years. They had bought out the former owners, Laura and Darin Goodwin -Scott is related to them through marriage. Having reopened on March 1st, Hoff and Skinner are in the process of getting a new paint job for the office. They had bought the property from Ray Staniforth and had to clear up the lot. They have 5 employees, including local OBcean Sherry, who has worked for Dover for many years.

Now half a dozen years later, Dover Plumbing doesn’t need all that space and the business will probably move over to the Midway District area, this reporter was told today by the owner.

Over at Jim Bell’s “center” at 4862 Voltaire, there’s been some bad news of late. Last year Jim Bell – the well-known ecologist – had a stroke and now is in a treatment facility. His daughter has come to town to arrange the sale of his property, we have learned through reliable sources.

Jim Bell’s Center

Jim designed the building for People’s Food Market up the street, has run multiple times for local political office, developed extensive theories and studies of the human impact on the environment, plus has written for the OB Rag.

One or more developers could eye the combo of these properties as a delicious profit center for future condos, mixed use, 2 storied commercial buildings. The current buildings on both these properties would be demolished to make way for whatever proposals the elite developer class has in mind. There may be an attempt to have Bell’s center made into a historic structure, but in this reporter’s opinion, there’s been too many additions and add-ons to the original structure for it to qualify.

The building itself does have some local flavor – part of it was the site of one of the Hodad’s restaurants.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Gregg Sullivan February 15, 2018 at 1:29 pm

Jim Bell did not design Peoples market. Hanna Gabriel Wells Architects did!

There you go again bad mouthing developers as all the same. Maybe an affordable housing developer might buy it. Are they elitist too. I’m sorry that Jim Bell is ill but that place is a dump. I’m glad it’s up for sale. Dover plumbing is not the best use for that site. I’m glad they are moving to a another location and they’ve been my go to plumber for 15 years.

A new development could make Voltaire a more viable pedestrian, walkable street! Check out SB 827 running through the California Legislature. It’s an affordable housing bill. I hope it passes. I don’t think you will like it though, Frank.


SaneVoice February 15, 2018 at 2:11 pm

Sounds like someone needs a timeout.


Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie February 16, 2018 at 10:54 am

I do know that Bell had a hand in designing the building.


Geoff Page February 16, 2018 at 2:42 pm

Affordable housing at that location? Are you being serious? My guess is that Dover is probably selling to make a profit on the rise in real estate prices in the last six years. The cost of the land is what makes an affordable housing development possible and that land will not go cheaply.


Amber February 16, 2018 at 4:55 pm

Just to be clear, so that the architects receive the credit that is due . . .
As a member of People’s Board of Directors during the time in which the Co-op’s current building was designed and constructed, I can tell you that we (members of the board) hired Jim as a “green” materials consultant. As such, Jim offered suggestions for interior paint and sealers that were low VOC, as well as suggestions on who should be hired to install the Co-op’s rooftop photovoltaic solar cells. Additionally, Jim offered ideas on creating a comfortable standing area for the cashiers and worked with us on other interior materials. It was local architects, hanna, gabriel and wells who designed the building, with input from the board.


Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie February 17, 2018 at 9:52 am

Amber – thanks so much for setting us straight on Jim Bell’s contributions.


Amber February 17, 2018 at 10:34 am

And thank you Frank, for the work you do : )


marc johnson February 15, 2018 at 5:31 pm

What’s the definition of affordable housing in San Diego.


Debbie February 15, 2018 at 5:42 pm

I hope Lu from Hungry Lu’s picks up both properties.


stu February 16, 2018 at 2:32 pm

Voltaire St both upper and lower are in dire need of redevelopment. Its nice to see a piece upper Voltaire being developed. Hopefully the lower part will also get a much needed face lift.
Frank do you know the developers not all developers are elite or greedy. They are trying to make profit and they do have vision. Any one who can work through the city development depts. deserve a profit to go with the headaches they will receive. Often profits are in the 2 to 3% range.
You have to give the a lot of credit to step into the swamp and construct a nice structures that all can be proud of


Geoff Page February 19, 2018 at 12:14 pm

Stu, can you tell me where you got the “2 to 3% range” for development profits?


aj February 17, 2018 at 8:26 pm

Stu 100% agree with you. Frank is a very low IQ person who likes to bad mouth developers on his little newspaper that has 400 subscribers like anyone cares what he says. He is clearly a NIMBY who doesn’t want any change. OB is a dump mostly, and redevelopment will happen at 100 miles an hour here. Glad, maybe in a few years ill move there when it is more pleasing to the eye.


Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie February 19, 2018 at 10:50 am

Well, aj, you care enough to troll us every so often.


SaneVoice February 20, 2018 at 1:43 pm

Very easy of you to make snide remarks huddled behind that keyboard, aj. I’m sure if you challenged someone in public and they came back at you, you’d wilt like the delicate flower you truly are.


aj February 17, 2018 at 8:28 pm

i just looked at the building pictures…historic? hahahahahaha thats hilarious. oh yeah, today’s burger used to be there, wowww….hodads burger has good burgers but the place needs to be cleaned, it looks like a place for homeless people and prisoners. ..loveee the burgers though…


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