Photo by Google Maps image
Lucy's Tavern, on Voltaire, shares a stretch of Cable Street with OB Noodle House (right)
Steve Yeng, one of the owners of the OB Noodle House, Bar 1502, and the Holding Company on Newport Avenue, this week confirmed the acquisition of the property the original OB Noodle House is on at 2218 Cable Street (near its intersection with West Point Loma Boulevard). Included in the sale of the parcel are the businesses established along the 4200 block of Voltaire Street: Lucy’s Tavern, Ocean Spa Nails, Hungry Lu’s, Mozana Bead & Stones, as well as three residential units.
The area of the parcel amounts to about a quarter of the block.
4920 Voltaire Street, San Diego
4906 Voltaire, San Diego
2218 Cable Street, San Diego
Yeng, along with his two brothers, are the LLC investors of the property purchased from the Raoul Appel Trust.
“We’ve developed a relationship with Mr. Appel for over a decade," said Yeng. “They were on a very limited income and there’s not much they could do to fix the place, so everything was deferred maintenance…. The building is falling apart and all that stuff, so he definitely wanted to cash out because he was having trouble.”
On February 8th, the OB Rag ran an article that Yeng says was inaccurate: it is false that evictions of 30 days were served, there were other investors involved, and that Mozana Bead & Stones would be bulldozed to create a patio for the OB Noodle House. (The Rag did publish an interview with Yeng on February 9th that addressed the rumors surrounding the sale and acknowledged the contributions of the Yeng family to the Ocean Beach community.)
Janiece, owner of Mozana Beads & Stone, said in an interview with this reporter that "Steve Yeng from the OB Noodle House took time out of his schedule to come and talk to me person-to-person. It seems like we both got played here [by the OB Rag]. He is not the one responsible for asking me to leave and is not planning to tear down the building…. I still have to go, but Steve has kindly given me more time and offered to help out where he can.”
Janiece said Yeng gave her three months’ free rent and 90 days to move out so the building could be brought up to code and repaired, “…and, yes, [Steve] offered to rent it back to me, too.”
Hungry Lu’s bakery and sandwich shop has been at 4920 Voltaire for nearly two decades. Lu said she made it known to the selling agents that she wanted to buy the site of her business, but it was sold as part of the parcel. Lu told the Rag, “It’s unethical for the owner and the real estate agents to only take [Yeng’s] offer.”
Cheryl Chase-Berkson, one of two property managers hired by Yeng, said, “It had to be the whole [parcel, including neighboring businesses] or nothing. And there was a confidentiality clause with the Appel Group, so [Yeng] couldn’t just tell everybody.”
Tenants from the nail salon and bead store, as well as the tenant behind the Noodle House on Voltaire, said they had no issue with the group of Yeng family members becoming the new landlord.
Ben from Ocean Spa Nails said he was pleased with the purchase, as lackluster management from the previous owner hindered his business.
Jeremy Tollackson has lived behind the OB Noodle House for years. He said he was alluded to in the OB Rag article as one of the tenants who’d been given a 30-day eviction notice.
“[OB Rag publisher Frank Gormilie] needs to print a retraction,” said Tollackson. “The previous manager did absolutely nothing. We’re lucky that [Yeng] came in and can actually help us out…. This is fucking asinine, because this is not what [Yeng is] doing.”
Owners of the other prominent tenant on the parcel, Lucy’s Tavern, could not be reached for comment.
“The last thing I would want to do is displace people,” says Yeng, who spent the first two years of his life living in a 10´x10´ hut in Cambodia (where he says he was recently, opening an orphanage for 140 children). “I bought the [parcel] to save it: if it wasn’t me, it would probably have been shut down and sold to corporate developers, but we plan to do a patio right here,” he explained as he showed me the area behind the Noodle House.
“So we cleaned up most of the yard. I want to put up a private wood fence, higher, and create a community yard for the tenants, with a garden of fresh vegetables and then they’ll have there own BBQ fire pits, basically creating a communal spot for the residents. So when the article said I was going to demolish this whole thing, I was, like, ‘What are you talking about?’”
Addressing the collective worry of Ocean Beach renters and residents, Yeng said, “There will never be a home-share or vacation rental here, ever. It’s going to be affordable living, but it’s not — if you walk through it — we’re just trying to bring it up to code and in compliance.”