Steve Yeng Confirms Purchase of Voltaire Street Properties in Ocean Beach

by on February 9, 2018 · 17 comments

in Ocean Beach

When this reporter texted Steve Yeng – the owner of OB Noodle House and other establishments in Ocean Beach – this morning to get his side of the story of the one we posted yesterday, he gave me quite an earful during his call back.

We had published a post about the fact that some were unhappy with how a pending or possible sale came down involving the purchase of a chunk of property on the 4900 block of Voltaire – a purchase by Steve and a “group of investors.”

Clearly Yeng was upset with the story, “it’s incorrect,” he said, and “everything’s false”, it’s “bullshit.” Yet when I pressed him repeatedly for one thing that was incorrect, false or bullshit – he would not or could not tell me.

Yeng did confirm to me that he – and his brother, “not a bunch of investors,” he said – had made the purchase of the properties. His OB Noodle House sits right next to the parcels. And that was one of the main points of the article we published.

Okay, so the investors are just his brother.

I pointed out that nothing in the article disparaged him or the Noodle House. The main complaint of the businessowner in the article was against the real estate agents and the previous owner of the property just sold – and the process. Not against Yeng at all. The article stated:

“[The real estate agents] are not taking our call – it’s just unfair,” [Lu of Hungry Lu’s] 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.

Yet Yeng claimed the article hurt all 140 of his employees at the OB Noodle House. I had no response to this inexplicable assertion.

Although he refused to give me any details of where the story was wrong during our 10 minute conversation, Yeng did tell an associate yesterday that he wasn’t bulldozing the building where the Mozano bead shop sits, 4918 Voltaire, but confirmed that the business has been evicted and that he, not the previous owner, was doing the evicting – although the storefront is allowed to stay to April and Yeng is helping with the rent.

The OB Rag is well aware of the generous contributions that Steve, his family and his businesses have made to the community of Ocean Beach, whether to OB Elementary, the OB Woman’s Club and others. It’s his way of saying thanks to the thousands of patrons of his very successful network of businesses here. He even took out ads on the OB Rag a few years back.

But people on Voltaire are unhappy, I told him, and that is true.

Finally, Yeng told me he was going to take “the truth” to another reporter, to another media outlet – to Delinda Lombordo who writes for the San Diego Reader. Fine I thought. (Delinda has her own axe to grind against the OB Rag, because we dared to post a “reader’s rant” that criticized her Reader article about Nati’s Mexican restaurant closing for good – in the furtherance of a community-wide discussion about the eatery. I had personally praised her work in that article. But Lombordo’s animosity towards the OB Rag goes back even further; she singled out the OB Rag as “fake news” on social media when we broke the story that a Target Express was planned for OB.)

For me this was an evolving story; get one side of a possible story – then get another side. And maybe there’s other sides. I had the full intention of contacting Yeng for comments and to a fuller explanation of what was happening from his side. And I’m glad if we can now add to what is known and get some clarification.

But don’t be surprised to see a hit piece against the OB Rag in the coming days in the Reader.

We’re so bad! We’re sick.




{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeremy February 9, 2018 at 12:23 pm

Great reporting guys!


Gregg Sullivan February 9, 2018 at 12:26 pm

It’s “chunk” of property not “chuck” of property.


Frank Gormlie February 9, 2018 at 12:29 pm

Thanks, got it.


Mark Lee February 9, 2018 at 12:49 pm

You do a great job Frank. Rag always chuck full of great info.


Jason February 9, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Why didn’t you get Steve’s comments before the first article… Seems more like entertainment news intended to stir the pot waiting for his response rather including both sides of the story from the get go in order to release a biased news piece.


Michael February 9, 2018 at 2:06 pm

I thought the first article was pretty one-sided and did it’s best to use language to create an uproar under the guise of community reporting. From the facts of the article, one could surmise the following:
Steve put a $300,000 down payment on seller financing of $2.5M to buy the property. If the businesses do not perform, the previous owners get the property back. Steve has the experience to do just that and the other business owners do not. Also, I bet Steve has much more liquidity than the other business owner. Who would you make a loan to?

This is not like buying a house. It’s a commercial real estate transaction with a seller carryback note which requires the new owner to perform. It DOES matter who is running the show and Steve has shown he can do it.

If I owned the property, I would also tell the other tenants to take a hike.

Also, the bead shop was enjoying a MTM lease. That works both ways and if they wanted to stay, they could have secured a longer lease.


Jettyboy February 10, 2018 at 11:03 am

If I’m reading all this correctly, people are upset about a business person doing business. This is how Capitalism functions. If you believe in this economic system look at the larger picture. Businesses are in it to make profits, not make communities happy. No judgement on anyones economic beliefs, but if you support capitalism, and the actual effect it has in reality you have no excuse to complain. If not, work to change it, or shut up.


Jenni February 10, 2018 at 11:22 am

There’s a woman living illegally in the bead shop?!? Yea I’m def taking this to the city. This is bullshit.


unwashedwallmartThong February 10, 2018 at 6:13 pm

I never read The Reader. Well, I think I did once about two years ago. I was in the desert (or maybe a coffee shop), and there was nothing to read (maybe some glossy real estate rags were there), and I had time to kill during the mid afternoon (I was avoiding responsibilities), and a three-week-old Reader w/ coffee ring stains was right there on a short table next to a waste basket. I read two paragraphs of some tripe & tossed it into the waste basket. Nothing affected me, no apoplexy, no disgust, no interest, just a couple of uninteresting paragraphs. I vowed to never involve myself in that type of behavior again.


Janiece Swilling February 10, 2018 at 9:03 pm

As the owner of “mozana beads & stones” at 4918 Voltaire, I want to set the record straight–or as straight as an on-going story can be. No one contacted me about these articles (though I did get a VM from Frank apparently after his 1st article ran.)
In the beginning there was a lot of misinformation. All I knew was that the old building manager called me out of the blue in January and said I was living here illegally and had to vacate residency in 10 days or I could be arrested. Then the old owner served me a 30 day eviction notice that after 9 years as a tenant, left me shocked and terrified. I was called by an attorney and told that since I had been living here illegally, I had to leave immediately. I paid my rent on time, accepted rent increases gracefully and kept insurance for a store front residence. This worked out really well for me as I have been undergoing treatments for stage 4 cancer. I thought I was doing everything right so I didn’t handle any of this very well.
Nearly 2 weeks later, I found out that Steve had been out of the country helping with the installation of a septic/clean water system at an orphanage in Cambodia. When he returned he was confronted by the uproar of all the people who were angry on my behalf. He didn’t know anything about the way my eviction had been handled or any of the threatening phone calls generated by the attorney and the previous building manager. He explained to me more about his plans to upgrade the entire group of properties including his own restaurant. The building I occupy wasn’t up to code when I moved in nearly a decade ago. I had the breaker box rewired to make it safer but I was aware of some of the issues.
This wasn’t a matter of a MTM tenant being booted. It was more about the way it was done. Once the building manager was dismissed, I’m still evicted so that the building can be brought up to code but Steve and I came to an amicable arrangement and he has been very kind and generous giving me the extra time I needed to find another place to live. He offered to pay some of his employees to help me with the move. Since he has considered me a good neighbor and a valuable addition to what he is trying to build here, he also offered to potentially rent the building to me again as a retail space once it is up to code.
He said he purchased this whole group of buildings because his restaurant is part of it and he was protecting himself for the future. I can’t fault him for that. It definitely disrupts my life and income but he really isn’t to blame for it all. The previous owner never made any improvements and all the buildings need a lot of love. Steve has a lot on his plate and I’m really glad he had the decency to deal with me face to face and the kindness to help me move on. Maybe I’ll be able to come back. Maybe it’s time to retire. I don’t know but I don’t want to leave a bad flavor behind by not thanking him for helping me make the best of a difficult situation. It was nice to hear from my customers and neighbors that I’ve made a positive impact on them. I don’t know if anyone will ever know all the “facts” about this deal but I’m going to be OK and wanted my fellow OBcians to know my “side.”


JOHN February 11, 2018 at 2:21 am

I thought the wording of the first article seemed to be unfair to Steve as well. I understood the article was about the selling process but I don’t think that the point came across well. Seemed like an attack on the Yengs to me. And since the rag is on a texting basis with Steve seems like you probably should of texted first, report second.


kh February 11, 2018 at 6:09 pm

Complaining about the reader seems petty and unprofesssional. And has nothing to do with the topic.

Take the high road!


Jeremy Tollackson February 12, 2018 at 4:24 pm

Hi Frank,
I was just wondering why I was never approached for comment? I am one of the tenants apparently being affected by the eviction and bulldozing. Now, I can only speak for myself on the topic. I am “not” being evicted nor have I been approached regarding this matter. I have known Steve for quite some time and find him to be up front and for the most part transparent.
I also have a particular ax to grind, but it is not with Steve Yeng. It is with Raoul Appel Jr. and his deceptive property manager Robert Hampton in regards to the state of things. Hopefully everything works out for the best.
Thanks, Jeremy


SaneVoice February 13, 2018 at 3:05 pm

If Delinda Lombardo is a writer, then I’m the King of Siam.


Mari February 15, 2018 at 12:08 pm

Steve has every right to be upset. He does so much for the community and so much for OB Elementary! Do we want another CVS in OB? No we don’t! It’s understandable his employees would be upset about the article when it was only 1/2 true.


Frank Gormlie February 15, 2018 at 12:42 pm

I’m sorry, but it was way more than “half true” – in fact, it was true except for a couple of minor details. No, so it’s not understandable – but hey, if a fraction of his 140 employees come read the OB Rag, all’s good.


John O. February 15, 2018 at 3:55 pm

Thanks for your comment Janiece. I’m not in OB these days, but I check the rag from time to time. Sounds like a tough situation for you. Hope you find a solution.


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