Ocean Beach’s Iconic Surfside Cottages Up for Sale

by on October 5, 2023 · 33 comments

in Ocean Beach

OB’s iconic Surfside Cottages on the cliffs near the OB Pier are up for sale. Built in 1955, the series of  small cottages at 5072-5078 Niagara Avenue are being touted by the sellers as ocean front property located at the entrance to the pier — which they are of course.

The sellers are also pushing that the cottages are:

  • Located In One Of Southern California’s True Beach Communities
  • Hotel/Airbnb Potential
  • Located In Front Of Famous Surf Break

In the sales description, it is stated:

While this substantial property consisting of 25 cabins generates a modest income, a premium price is expected because it is ocean-frontage.

The property is all the more appealing because it is protected both by a concrete sea wall and by being up high on a bluff.

Between the two parcels is one of the longest piers on the West Coast of the United States, which is a major tourist attraction in San Diego. To the right of the pier, and directly in front of the north parcel of the property, is a famous surfing break.

Naturally, there is no mention that the City has to demolish most of the current pier and build a new one in the upcoming years.

And while the cottages are promoted because they’re “located in one of Southern California’s true beach communities,” the sellers also concede that they are “hotel and Airbnb potential.” No hint is given that short-term rentals have helped destroy the beach housing stock and have undermined the cultural and social base of the village.

We do hope that the purchaser will maintain the cottages and keep that “modest income” going.

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page October 5, 2023 at 11:59 am

Oh, that is a shame. Those cottages make the approach to the pier what it is. I can only imagine what will go in there and none of it good.


Wendy October 5, 2023 at 12:26 pm

Is there any information about the property to the south of the cottages that could use a refacing?


kh October 5, 2023 at 2:40 pm

Tourist lodging seems more appropriate there than up in the thick of the neighborhoods. If only that was the choice. I’ve always wondered about that operation and who lives in those tiny cottages. I bet they’d be considered historic which would really limit what could be done (and would devalue the property).


Yesss October 6, 2023 at 4:33 am

My first friend in OB lived in one of those little cottages. The property manager was a very kind and very attentive guy
Too bad avarice seems to have run out. If these go- thanks to the ” new. Improved” short term rental policy foisted upon us, we’ll take one more step towards turning into Mission Beach. Thank you city council and mayor. Your plans are now clear


Fish October 7, 2023 at 9:06 am

Spaceman lived there…giving out numbers so you could board the spaceship and escape the distruction of the world.


fish October 7, 2023 at 9:12 am

Spaceman lived there in the 50’s…giving out numbers so you could board the spaceship and escape the distruction of the world.


nostalgic October 7, 2023 at 10:29 am

I visited Spaceman there once with a friend of his. I don’t think I kept my number. His name was accurate.


Jeffeck October 5, 2023 at 2:57 pm

Any chance of historic designation?


John October 5, 2023 at 4:46 pm

If the city was smart, they would buy this property and combine it with the pier. They could renovate the whole area and make it more welcoming to tourists and locals alike. This is a once
in a lifetime opportunity.


GML October 5, 2023 at 5:29 pm

I agree, unfortunately your first couple words were all that is needed to show it won’t happen: “If the city was smart…”


John October 6, 2023 at 7:09 am

You guys said to vote for him.


Frank Gormlie October 6, 2023 at 10:55 am

John – who is “him?” Todd Gloria? The Rag did not support him for mayor.


HID October 6, 2023 at 8:23 am

I was going to say the same thing! But like GML said “if the city was smart” is the sticking point. We seem to be more inclined to sell off public lands in this town, rather than aquire them.


Dave October 6, 2023 at 7:59 am

And so it begins ….the corporate exploitation of Ocean Beach and this property listing is the perfect location to gain a foothold.

In 10 years, you won’t even recognize the last true beach community in left in Southern California.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at the former City of Oceanside and what it has morphed into now.


Vern October 6, 2023 at 10:18 am

Sadly, Dave, you are likely quite correct.


Dave October 12, 2023 at 11:09 am

Honestly, I wish I wasn’t.


Chris October 6, 2023 at 2:51 pm

I actually like a lot of the changes in Oside, tho admittedly some Marines I’ve talked to up there said the feel unwelcome and out of place when they walk into some of the newer upscale bars and eateries.


Rachel October 6, 2023 at 1:17 pm

Let’s hope it is NOT developed into some monstrosity, and that the historic, village charm is retained. No, it doesn’t need to turn into some touristy thing along with The Pier; there are other beach towns that are all built up like that already. PB is a case in point. Tall buildings and overdevelopments crowd out the natural beauty; I certainly don’t want to visit there!

Let’s make sure nothing ruins the beach village charm of OB!


Km October 6, 2023 at 2:10 pm

Small beach charm of o.b. was lost when I was a kid in the 80s. And many old timers would say it was lost before my childhood. O.B. sadly is a lost cause and has been for years.


Chris October 6, 2023 at 3:02 pm

And so on and so forth. Every generation says how their respective community is not like it was before.


DJ October 7, 2023 at 4:11 am

The proposed design for a pier parking parking structure will block the views the cottages currently have.


Matt October 6, 2023 at 3:04 pm

Another BlackRock landgrab on its way?


Pamela K Sorrentino October 6, 2023 at 6:32 pm

I’m looking for several other veterans that are interested in maybe co-ownership and purchasing the Cottages


Hanging on by a string October 6, 2023 at 9:28 pm

And where are Locals supposed to live? ?


Christopher Thomas October 7, 2023 at 3:56 pm

? As sad as it is that these cottages got sold, what kind of question is that?


Kristin J Chapin October 7, 2023 at 6:25 am

Heartbroken for the major landgrab and huge corporate takeover that is imminent to our beautiful OB classic beach town. The pier meeting and its push for the twisted plan #3 of massive retail by developers scared the hell out of me as we will all lose such incredible views from shoreline and more with the monstrosity of a 3 story build over the ocean. Now these cottages that this #obnative s parents honeymooned in, I’m sure have their demolishing scheduled hours after purchase. My heart and soul are from this spot and just so sad we cant keep one small spot of San diego true to it’s small town beach life and NOT cater to tourism with crap retai, beer and more burgers. Gonna miss our little old OB ?


Chris October 7, 2023 at 4:03 pm

What’s wrong with beer?


Cindy October 7, 2023 at 7:16 am

My sister lived there in the early 70’s – amazing price for the smaller ones a room with a bathroom and shower in back for $60 a month – also a 2 bedroom cottages for $230 – 270 monthly – “those were the days my friend” had excellent summers on that beach ???


south ob girl October 7, 2023 at 3:12 pm

Anyone know the price? (Not that I could buy it. Just want to know.)


Nonni October 9, 2023 at 6:38 pm

Those cottages have historic value, and should be preserved. I used to go to Spaceman’s cottage at night for jam sessions, if you can imagine.


Larry OB October 12, 2023 at 7:08 pm

Bob Oaks’ cottage on Sundays for jazz sessions. He had a bedroom set aside for records and tapes. Original paintings by Spaceman lined a hallway. Larry Himmel was another celebrity tenant of the cottages.


Robin McCracken October 10, 2023 at 1:33 pm

They should rent 25% of the cottages to local ARTISTS for low income prices like they did for SPACEMAN years ago! The small cottages were actually built in 1911!! The larger buildings and other items were from the 1950’s. I thought these were ALREADY designed as an historical landmark! WTF California! A Craftstman home in Mission Hills was also demolished recently. What happened to the Coastal Commission??


Devon October 15, 2023 at 10:53 pm

My best friend lived in one in the alley about 10 years ago when the old brothel that shared the alley (big brown building) still had the call girl windows above the doors. She then Ugraded to the waterfront. It was incredible hanging out there. But When the sun went down EVERYTHING that was left on front of the cottage got soaked by the ocean mist. It was crazy! And a pain. Realizing living a few buildings or even a block from the beach is best. Less damage to propery. It would get damp and gross and had nothing to do with its age. It kept tje residents real. U had to REALLY want to live there. Everyone was real. U had to shut the door at sunset or the inside would get wet too. Propably why none of the ocean facing windows opened. It made it hard to fully enjoy it.

Its a miracle that the property was still standing 10 years ago

There was one family member preventing it from being sold. The one who was present. The one people knew of.

He held it down, and pissed his family off trying to keep it alive. Bless that man.


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