Some in Ocean Beach Unhappy with Pending Sale of Voltaire Street Properties to OB Noodle House Owner

by on February 8, 2018 · 22 comments

in Ocean Beach

There’s an unhappiness in Beach Town USA. Or at least our beach town. Especially along Voltaire Street in north Ocean Beach.

Two things. One, apparently there’s a pending sale of a good chunk of properties along the 4900 block of Voltaire – properties that include all the businesses from Hungry Lu’s to Lucy’s Bar, and everything in between.

And the buyers appear to be a group of investors involving Steve Yeng – the owner of the nationally-famous OB Noodle House, the Bar 1502 and the former THC on Newport Avenue. OB Noodle House is right next door to Lucy’s Bar.

Two, there’s a bunch of folks along that section of Voltaire who are not too pleased with the sale. Or at least, how it came down.

Our sources tell us that the Raoul Appel Trust just made nearly $2.5 million in loans to something called “OB Voltaire Llc” on January 24, 2018 involving the properties at 4920 Voltaire – Hungry Lu’s – and 4912-4918 Voltaire – the remaining businesses in that stretch. Raoul Appel, Jr is the owner and seller of the properties.

So the sale is either pending or has been completed. We are not certain. Perhaps the transfer deed just hasn’t recorded.

And it’s more than rumor that has Steve Yeng tied into this OB Voltaire Llc. Supposedly, there’s a group of investors who make up OB Voltaire Llc and Yeng is the most prominent.

The sale or transfer of ownership of the parcels has reportedly already resulted in the evictions of both a business and a residence in the same building. Janice, who owns Mozana, a bead shop at 4918 Voltaire, was given a 30-day notice to leave, and the resident in the studio behind the storefront was also evicted. A 30-day notice is not quite adequate for a business to find another locale and pick up and move.

But next door, at Hungry Lu’s, there’s more unhappiness. Lu – the shop’s namesake – is not happy at all about how the sale all came down. Lu has been a tenant for 19 years at 4920 Voltaire, and for many years it was just the bakery for the bread for her family’s network of Grab&Go’s; but then she opened Hungry Lu’s up and had her brother Charlie run the place.

Lu has been trying to buy the chuck of property in a partnership with the owners of Lucy’s for 15 years, she told this reporter the other day. She’s even offered to buy just the parcel her business is in.

A short time ago, however, she gave permission for a group of potential investors to come into her business, take photos, etc, lead by some real estate agents. Everybody was very friendly. And Lu asked the agents if they would be accepting offers on the properties shortly, and they assured her they would be. She was told they would contact her as soon as they returned from a 2 week vacation.

The 2 weeks went by, no call. Lu hired her own real estate agent – who contacted the agents. Lu’s agent was told they’re not accepting offers and was hung up on. “It’s not fair,” Lu said.

She’s been there for almost 2 decades and felt she was entitled to a phone call and to at least be able to get an offer in on the properties. Her main ire was directed at the agents. “It’s unethical,” she said, “for the owner and the real estate agents to only take [Yeng’s} offer.”

“They’re not taking our call – it’s just unfair,” she continued, and complained more about the process, how she had been promised a chance to at least put an offer on the table only to be then shut down. Lu still would like to work out some deal with Yeng – who did come and talk with her.

Plus Lu still has a long-term lease, for another 7 years. “I’m good,” she noted. But she added, “I’m not happy and I’m looking around,” she said. “This place,” she said motioning with her hand in the air, “is falling apart.  I’m not putting another roof on ….”

Lu told me how a group of investors, led by Steve, has made the purchase, and how “it just closed, a week ago,” she said. She heard that the building next door, where Mozana is, will be bulldozed and made into a patio area for the Noodle House.  Lucy’s has a long-term lease and Ocean Spa, she believed, has a 4 year lease.

Lu, of Hungry Lu’s, would still like to buy just the parcel her business sits on. It is a separate parcel. But she’s still clearly unhappy with it all.

NEW: See Steve Yeng’s side, sort of here.


{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Bearded OBcean February 8, 2018 at 2:52 pm

It sold the last week of January for $2.8M.


marc johnson February 8, 2018 at 6:51 pm

Things are a changing.


Debbie February 8, 2018 at 7:35 pm

Who is this group of investors?


Chris February 9, 2018 at 6:24 am

AS the article stated, Steve Yeng is among them. Not sure who the rest are.


Debbie February 9, 2018 at 6:56 am

That is what I am asking … who is in the group.


Cameron February 9, 2018 at 12:06 am

Dang, hasn’t Steve Yeng leased enough of OB yet?? Makes me sad that small businesses are dying in OB.


dajohn February 9, 2018 at 12:37 am

interesting that the article recently about this same owner basically leveling a bar on newport in the dead of night was disgustingly optimistic about that gentrification, but not this one. weird.


Kathy February 9, 2018 at 1:49 am

I’m a customer of both businesses & hope the end result is beneficial to both. A year & a half ago people were pissed O’Bistro’s was closed after a 10 year lease (I was also a long time customer & not too happy) after being bought out by OB Quik Stop.

All I have to say is these are not foreign investors, Steve is very generous to our community, a wise businessman whose heart is true to OB. More than I can say for the 300+ Airbnb owners & slumlord Mike Mills who cashed in on a multi-million dollar investment & bought up every available rental property, both making OB unaffordable for the common worker to live here.

The owners of Quik Stop, most of our liquor stores & laundromats, the Yeng’s … they’re immigrants who settled in OB & worked hard for what they have. Most people who live here are their patrons.

Funny, the left-wingers suddenly oppose the grateful refugees who prospered & gave back to our community.


dajohn February 9, 2018 at 7:20 am

I’ve heard bobby at newport quick talk about jacking the rent up through the roof on one of his apartment rentals, when I used to frequent that location, just because they are local and employ people in the community doesn’t mean they aren’t doing shady stuff and displacing people to pad their wallets.


Dave February 9, 2018 at 10:10 pm

I really used to get along well with Bobby, he always came across to me as a good guy and I’ve spent literally thousands of dollars in his businesses over the years.

That ended when I had a crew remodeling a condo between the Quik Stop and the old O’Bistro last year at the same time he had a crew creating “Voltaire Beach House” (I already wasn’t a fan of the O’Bistro leaving) He was running a special on a roast-beef-and-bacon sandwich, and one of my employees, a Muslim, was turned away after being told he couldn’t order the sandwich without bacon unless he wanted to pay extra for declining an ingredient.

After I’d highly praised the business (and decision to end their corporate partnership with Subway), it came as a slap in the face, especially since the final decision to deny service came down to Bobby personally.

For the next three months, we ate at Hungry Lu’s three times a week and the Noodle House every Friday – so to be kind of on-topic, I feel for both of the parties involved in this dispute and will likely continue to patronize both…


OB Mercy February 9, 2018 at 10:34 pm

Dave, whoa. Don’t blame you.


Craig Klein February 9, 2018 at 7:57 am

Thank you for standing up for Steve Yeng. He is a tremendous asset to our community. A successful businessman who “gets it”. He has generously shared his blessings,, financially supports local institutions, such as OB Elementary School, and provides employment for many Obcians. I just wish more property and business owners in OB would follow his example.


OB Mercy February 9, 2018 at 12:03 pm

Thank you Kathy and Craig for your support of the ever generous Steve Yeng. He was one of 6 local OB sponsors that helped send me to be a Top 10 judge at the World Food Championships in Alabama this past November and for that, I will be eternally grateful.

I would rather have him and I’m sure whatever carefully chosen group of investors he’s in business with, buying up properties in a town he cares deeply for, than the owner of Newport Optometry, whom you hear nothing but opportunistic rent raises with the properties he owns, or the equally greedy Michael Mills.


Frank Gormlie February 9, 2018 at 12:21 pm

Again, neither Steve Yeng nor OB Noodle House were disparaged; the complaints are against the real estate agents, the previous owner and the process.


OB Mercy February 9, 2018 at 12:50 pm

Cameron made a disparaging remark about Steve Yeng and we we were defending him regarding that comment.

Also, I think you made the same typo twice in your article. I think you meant to say chunk, not chuck.


Frank Gormlie February 9, 2018 at 1:31 pm

Okay, got it, yup chunk and me are old friends. I think most of us would rather see local investors than out-of-towners.


Mark February 9, 2018 at 6:52 am

It is unfortunate that the Renters are disgruntled by the sale of the property, but the person who owns the property can sell it to whomever they want and dont need to list it or offer it up to the general public. I think it good that a prominent ocean beach buisness owner who is vested in the immediate area be in charge of the property and leases. It doesnt say in the article that they are Terminating Lu and lucys tennancy after there leases are up. It just says that the bead shop is being leveled. Unfortunate for the bead shop, but if you want more time and security you dont rent month to month. They arent strip mining or digging oil wells. The Appel estate is just selling off some of their property. If they did list it publicly and sold it to the highest offer, we’d have another Target.


Don February 9, 2018 at 8:22 am

If I had to guess, OB is in the cross hairs just like the other side of the hill as far as development goes.
The increasing low and loud departures out of the single runway Lindbergh (and the resulting increases in the sawmill-like plane noise) may put a damper on 30′ high (+) development, or maybe not.
However, as transient as central San Diego is (it’s a rental mecca as the developers like to say and it’s a high percentage of transplants) look for the narrow streets to remain, increased subterranean parking and lots of rooftop umbrellas, bar height tables, density and congestion.


Noah February 9, 2018 at 10:41 am

Anybody who has anything negative to say about Steve Yeng, obviously has never met the man, had even a two minute conversation with him, has never paid attention to the endless things he does for OB, or has taken the time to hear his story. Steve Yeng is the most unselfish person I know. Seriously a good dude, that has more heart than most people I’ve met. Not just him…his entire family. Anything contrary to this is simply ridiculous information.


jason February 9, 2018 at 4:39 pm

Exactly Noah!


Frank Gormlie February 9, 2018 at 11:51 am

Steve Yeng gave me quite an earful this morning, although he did confirm his purchase of the properties, see


Judy Swink February 12, 2019 at 7:05 pm

Nothing to say about the pending changes at Voltaire and Cable but I wish Steve Yeng, whom I believe owns 4118 Voltaire (former site of Honey Bear Cottage) would do something about what we see as we walk by. While work was going on, I was told it was to provide take-out delivery services for OB Noodle House but now the house has sat there looking tacky and abandoned for a long time, maybe even a couple of years. I’ve seen no activity that suggests a business is operating there.


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