‘No One From Ocean Beach Showed’ at Historical Board Vote on Nati’s Building

by on July 12, 2018 · 7 comments

in Ocean Beach

In Julie Stalmer’s recent San Diego Reader article on the vote by the San Diego Historical Resources Board to deny the OB Nati’s buildings any historic designation, she reported “no one from the Ocean Beach community showed” at their June 28 hearing.

This was according to Amie Hayes, a historic resources specialist with Save Our Heritage Organization, quoted by Stalmer; Hayes was there for the hearing. Hayes said:

“The vote was 2-7, so it didn’t pass. This means the property can now be demolished.”

There was one email on record from a couple who appeared to be OBceans opposing the buildings destruction and extolling the “quirky charm and character” of OB. The email read, in part:

Not only was Natis restaurant already a historical place in the hearts of all those that ate there and to those who became friends to all the great people that worked there for decades, but the building itself is a neighborhood treasure!!

It has become a landmark when giving directions, or a good location to meet up with a friend.

The patio, the classic style of the main building, the wrought iron gates, and the adjoining spaces, perfect for small businesses are worth saving!! Not everything has to be “new and shiny” and void of personality. I think this is a building that should be saved for future generations. I just can’t bare any more 2 or 3 story, modern, cement and metal condos going up, or a new age restaurant that serves mediocre health food to further chip away at the wonderful, quirky charm and character that Ocean Beach and the Natis building has always bought to our community.

There had been much brouhaha and bluster about an effort by locals and SOHO to save the architecturally unique buildings over the past months. Many of our readers, for instance, had many favorable memories of the 60 year old eatery; yet others found the food mediocre and the buildings not worthy of note.

So, when it came down to it – no one from OB showed up to argue the historic nature of a piece of OB legend. No one from the OB Historical Society showed up; no one from the OB Mainstreet Association, no one from the OB Town Council or the OB Planning Board came to the hearing. No one from the OB Rag attended it either. (We’re assuming no one from Point Loma showed either, even though many long-timers from the Peninsula loved the restaurant.

Stalmer also reported:

The new owners of Nati’s hired consultant argued that Nati’s structure wasn’t unique in style and no person or event associated with Nati’s was considered historically significant. They cited the workmanship as average.

They concluded their case against designation by stating that Nati’s doesn’t share any common themes with structures in the immediate area, nor does it do anything to improve the area aesthetically or historically.

In her Reader post, Stalmer uncovered more grumbling from former employees – one guy had worked there for years and was offered 4 weeks of severance pay if he didn’t talk “bad about Nati’s.” This worker had “expected Nati’s to be open until the end of summer, so he was shocked on June 3 when he was told they were closing on June 7.” He told Stalmer,”We were told we would get a two-week notice and when we complained we were told ‘well, that’s business.'”

This employee also claimed the new owners of the land were in the restaurant its last day.

The fact no one from the village had time to go to the HRB meeting demonstrates a surprisingly thin layer of involvement by locals to this particular preservation attempt. No one was willing to put their body where their mouth was. Or maybe it was all bluster.


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Tyler July 12, 2018 at 12:32 pm

Or maybe none of us cared? The original article garnered zero responses.


Frank Gormlie July 12, 2018 at 12:36 pm

Tyler – I think you’re right – which is partly my point here. Many of our posts about Nati’s did generate discussions, but when it came down to it, it was all talk. (Were you referring to the original Reader article?)


OBMercy July 12, 2018 at 2:20 pm

Was going to post her article on Ocean Beach!!! Facebook page stating how it proved my point that most on social media bitch, moan and complain but yet do nothing about it. But why bother? No one really cares, do they?


bodysurferbob July 12, 2018 at 3:13 pm

of course they do, why – just look how clean the sand is. lottas of beach clean-ups.


OB Joe July 12, 2018 at 3:15 pm

bodysurferbob – are you implying people are more concerned about appearances than substance?


Frank Gormlie July 12, 2018 at 3:18 pm

There are so many issues and things to care about, one has to be very selective in what they put their time, energy and money on. Nati’s was just not that special – despite the moaning that Mercy refers to – even though it had limited historic value.

What comes next on that lot after demolition?


OBMercy July 13, 2018 at 8:07 am

Bodysurferbob, I’m one of the admins of CSI-OB, Cleaner Streets Initiative for over 5 years now. Yes, the beach clean ups are successful and we always get a good turn out.

My statement was about almost everything thing else, lol.

Whatever comes in after Natis and that ugly old building will be fine with me. As an Archaeologist, I saw no redeeming value in that bldg and obviously the archeological resource company (I’ve worked for them before) that did the study were right in recommending no historical value as well.

The hundreds of complaints that ensued once the word was out, were full of hot air obviously. Or it was just too hard to get up off their chairs for their own cause I guess.


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