Sunday, March 11, 2018

Pacifica Ocean Discovery Center Conceptual Design

- Click on the image for a larger version

I am posting this here because Council Member O'Neil had an opinion write up in the Pacifica Tribune this week regarding the development of 3.1 acres of City owned oceanfront property at 2212 Beach Blvd.: The City Council Chambers building and the Old Wastewater Treatment Plant.

He was not in full knowledge of what the Pacifica Ocean Discovery Center (PODC) group was requesting. It was not Hotel vs PODC on the site as he presented it. We were not asking for the entire site, only a set aside of 20%.

In fact we are in favor of a Hotel. We are requesting that the City section off the same amount of space that was previously set aside for the Library on this site (30,000 sq ft), and give us a year to raise the money to purchase the site. (roughly 2.5 - 3 million)

In order for this last developer to make space on the site for the Library he had to eliminate 20 hotel rooms, reducing the number of 140 rooms down to 120.  The trade-off of the 20 hotel rooms in order build an oceanfront aquarium seems like a "no brainer".

Plus having the Pacifica Ocean Discovery Center as a tourist attraction will bring visitors into the city, stay in the hotels, shop, and eat at local restaurants. This oceanfront Aquarium will help fill the rooms in the large hotel on this site, as well as rooms in the other hotels in town. 

20 years ago the PODC raised 13k in grant money to prepare our proposal. We hired professionals to do architecture, engineering, sea water intake engineering, financial analysis; we had support letters from numerous environmental groups, schools and colleges. We even had a support letter from Dr. Sylvia Earle, the most renowned marine biologist on the planet. The proposal was thick as a phone book.

Back then it was large Hotel versus the PODC (with a 40 room hotel). Despite overwhelming support from the public, the City chose the Hotel. That Hotel developer backed out a year and a half later. The City has been trying to get a Hotel on the site for 20 years.

After the decision the PODC stayed together for a few years, but since we could not get an option on the property or support from the City, it became impossible to raise funding for this vision, the group and hope faded away.

When the vote last year for the Library to be built on this site failed, we realized that this section of the property could possibly become available. A couple of the founding members had a table at last year's Pacifica Earth Day event and discussed this possibility with the public, there was overwhelming support. Since then a new board of directors has been partially assembled, and in the process of having our non-profit status re-instated.

Do we have any funding at this point? No. About two years ago a member of a philanthropy team approached one of the founding members after hearing about the PODC proposal from years ago. There was this opportunity for 10 million dollars for this type of marine related project, but because the City had just entered into negotiations with this last Developer and set aside land for the Library, it was not possible to go for this opportunity.

Now that the Developer and Library has exited from the site, we believe if the City put wording in the RFP/RFQ supporting the PODC concept and showing the land space we would like to set aside, that there might be a possibility to go for this type of funding in the future.

Funding for such a venture is challenging, but we are in a different situation than 20 years ago, there was almost no internet. Today because of the internet there has been an explosion of wealth in Silicon Valley, San Mateo County and the Bay Area. YouTube is in San Bruno. We could care less if it was called the Zukerberg Aquarium, but that type of money is out there.  It would require funding from several sources, and would require contracting with a Capital Acquisition professional.

How much would it cost? We base our proposed PODC almost identical to the two aquariums in Santa Cruz: The Seymour Discovery Center, and the fairly new Sanctuary Exploration Center that was built six years ago.  The City of Santa Cruz donated the property and  NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation provided funds to build the 12,000 sq. ft. $15.9 million Sanctuary Exploration Center. The proposed PODC would be roughly 15,000 sq ft first floor.

Both of the Aquariums cited rent out their facilities to help cover operation costs. In our proposal we would do the same. Mr. O'Neil was seeking a 200 room conference center as a preferred part of the development in the RFP/RFQ.  In our proposal we include a 15,000 sq ft second floor as a 200+ room conference center multi-purpose room for the Hotel, additional use for City Council Chamber meetings, Library presentations, music performances, and other such as wedding receptions.

Lastly, it is all about the Pipe in the ocean, and the Pump House building that is required to stay on the property.  The only reason the Pier was built was to carry a pipe that came out of the Pump House, and out under the Pier and into the ocean, so that we could send our secondary waste water into the ocean, thankfully we no longer do this.  The Pier infrastructure and Pipe are a valuable asset that no other city has. We can use this pipe infrastructure for seawater intake/ outflow for the aquarium exhibits. It is why after all these years the PODC has wanted to utilize this aspect along with a section of the property. Also utilizing this asset would allow the City to apply for grant money to save the Pier.

This is our one and only chance at this!

If you support the concept of the Pacifica Ocean Discovery Center, please come to the upcoming City Council Meeting, Monday March 12th, 7pm, wear blue, and fill out a yellow card if you would like to speak in favor.


-Mitch Reid

Pacifica Ocean Discovery Center

Submitted by Mitch Reid


Anonymous said...

Now we have another Render Picture to dream about for the next 15-20 years just like any other ongoing projects in Pacifica. exp: Quarry, New Hotel, New Library, Harmony at one , ... etc.
Maybe we should consider Lucas Museum for our city instead of treasure island.

Anonymous said...

Looks great. Now let's pass a bond and build it.
But first we'll have to get rid of Dierdre, Keener, Stegnik, Battallio and the rest of the "managed retreat" minions. Otherwise it's an exercise in futility.

Anonymous said...

All paid for with "conceptual" money as well.

Mitch Reid said...

Go on over to Riptide to read about the funding aspect
The Sanctuary Exploration Center in Santa Cruz was fully funded by 2 non-profit sources

Anonymous said...

The City has less money than a guy who has no money. This is all a pipe dream. Oh wait all the pot shops are going to bail the city out of Demise.

The Local Libertarian said...

This seems like a reasonable proposal. Hopefully, they have the required funding.
Otherwise, its going to be another 20 years of wasted pipe-dreaming.

The Local Libertarian said...

Just a thought, why split the PODC and the Hotel as two different things?
They could be together. An ocean themed hotel with a visiting floor for the public.

3.2 Acres = 139,392 sq ft.
50% built up area = 69,696 sqft
3 floors x 69,696 sqft = 209,088 sqft

With proper planning and funding, we could have a substantial Ocean Discovery/Science Center + Hotel. I think that could work ...

Monterey Bay Aquarium is 322,000 sqft
California Academy of Sciences is 400,000 sqft

Anonymous said...

If that was a valid hotel plan, someone would have done it by now.
We're having enough trouble getting someone to build a regular hotel - let's not make it so complicated (although I must admit that we seem to be really, really good at that) that we can't even just build a regular hotel and get some revenue flowing.

The Local Libertarian said...

@8:29 they have

The Atlantis in Dubai. Check out the underwater suites:

This would be a huge hit with families with little kids.

Would need some interesting planning/engineering so public visitors don't get to peek into private bedrooms.

The Local Libertarian said...

Here is another one, in our very own USA:

Sleeping With the Sharks at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Bean Counter Bernie said...

So how much is it going to cost to refurbish the pier to hold that old rusted pipe up? You think a 50+ year old pipe exposed to the ocean is in good shape? I guess you're planning to tie into the existing city pump house. How are you going to pencil the cost of that out? You going to rent the use or do you think the city should subsidize you forever? You're pretty flippant about losing only 20 rooms. Have you done the calcs on what that would cost the city as well? And all you SLR proponents, how do you justify placing your aquarium at the same site you explained to the voters wouldn't withstand SLR?

Steve Sinai said...

"Just a thought, why split the PODC and the Hotel as two different things?"

Mitch mentioned the proposal was 80% hotel and 20% PODC.

Anonymous said...

ocean discovery is a loser. Need $20M for the building.. Can't wait for neighborhood to wake up to 300 cars a DAY plus buses flooding streets. Another Pacifica fantasy..

The Local Libertarian said...

@ 9:56 -- I think $20-$50 million can be easily raised.

As for 300 cars a day plus buses and the resulting traffic, I agree. But then, the city could allow a parking lot structure etc.

I think it is a good proposal. But the execution does require quite a bit of heavy lifting by the City. Is Pacifica capable?

Anonymous said...

beach front offices for Beach Coalition! More free ponies!

Anonymous said...

So lemme get this straight.

Keener, Kaufman, Stegink and the entire environmental "no on everything" crew were against construction of a library on the site because of impending sea level rise.

But when you construct an ocean discovery center on the site, closer to the ocean than the library would have been, sea level rise is no longer a concern.

Got it.

Anonymous said...

I think it is a good proposal. But the execution does require quite a bit of heavy lifting by the City. Is Pacifica capable?

Look at the condition of the street in front of your house. Now, what does your heart tell you?

The Local Libertarian said...

@12:52 -- its a rhetorical question. Intended to evoke a reaction rather than answer anything :-)

Have you seen the movie "Big Wednesday"? Pacifica is like that lead character Matt Johnson (acted by Jan-Michel Vincent).

Lot of potential. But all of it squandered.

Markus said...

I also thought about combined effort between hotel development and PODC. Then I got hit with the reality of achieving such alliance between 2 opposite mindsets, will take several years, maybe never. Then you throw in the mix our disfunctional council majority of 3 and we get another decade or 2 of talking in circles. Don't think any legitimate developer will stick it out for any length of time, before cutting their losses and moving out. How many times have you seen this MO, in the past 3+ decades. I say, make it as simple as possible for the hotel bid and finally get something done for Pacificans.

Anonymous said...

All of these "faux-development" porn pictures just continue to travel around in an endless circle. NOBY's love it cuz it's just more head-fake headlines to continue their real agenda, NO CONSTRUCTION. This latest generation of starry eyed faux-enviros are just the latest group of minions with no memory and no common sense. We need a LEGITIMATE council who understands first and foremost that Pacifica is broken and the only thing that comes out of these faux-commissions is existential jeopardy.

Anonymous said...

A library would be built with public (taxpayer) money and public responsibility to protect it in the event of sea level rise or flooding. A hotel would be built with private money and so would an ocean discovery center. A hotel developer would have to indemnify the city from any responsibility for future protection of the site, such as building or maintaining a seawall, in order to get city approval. Same for an ocean discovery center. The risk would have to be all on them, not on us taxpayers as the library would be.

Anonymous said...

Steve, from the picture posted on riptide (link: ) it seems to imply that PODC will be set aside and separate from the hotel.

The width of the Beach Boulevard block between Montecito St and Brich Ln is 350 ft
The length between Beach Boulevard and Palmetto is also approx 350ft

If you keep the length of 350 ft along Montecito St, then for 30000 sq ft area, it would be 85 ft on the beach side. It would be a narrow strip. They could still manage 90,000 sqft with 3 floors if they design it right (assuming 30K sqft is after the setbacks).

But (IMO) they could approach a big hotel chain and propose the idea for funding and provide aquarium maintenance services in exchange.

But realistically no big hotel chain is going to step up unless the entire block of area between Montecito and Clarendon are zoned high rise commercial as it will give them enough "play area" to make a decent profit. Sort of like what they did with Cannery Row in Monterrey.

But again, does Pacifica have it in them?

Anonymous said...

We certainly have mismanagement in our city.
As I looked above we had this project plan in about 20 years ago.
Our population is about 40,000 people and on average we have about 4 people in each family.

So this will make about 10,000 houses in Pacifica.( guesstimate )

If we had fund raised on average about $ 100 per house per year ( family of 4 ), it would make a $ 1,000,000 a year fund.

So let's multiply it by 20 and we got $ 20,000,000 in our funds account.
How much do we have now ? Answer : Nothing.

So do you guys seriously believe in this type of management ?

This is another hoax to keep us busy for another 20 years or so.

I am not saying people at our city council members are bad people and I have respect for them but they are not able to manage a business plan that benefits majority and are still stuck in their old believes.

Markus said...

Exactly my thoughts 12:52. When I look at my street, it looks like a slurry jig saw puzzle. Have never seen streets and roads in such disrepair. In addition, the many traffic safety issues, are not addressed. The city pretends there are no problems, when you bring it up to their attention. When you physically can't back out from your garage into the street, due to people's parked vehicles overhanging into your driveway, we definitely have a problem. I pointed out that just by red curbing a few feet of curb, would at least elliminate that problem. In the past couple of years, I had to call the cops 3 times because I couldn't back out from my garage. The last time this happened, the officer asked me to notify the city. I said I did and was told they didn't think there's a problem. The officer just laughed and said "no problem, really?". Sometimes, you just have to take care of the problem yourself. This city is broke and will continue on this path as long as any development that can bring in much needed tax revenues, is totally stifled by endless delays. So, while I think this city can't handle a project requiring "heavy lifting", we should at least start the process with the hotel now and hopefully the upcoming November election will replace the narrow mindset of the present council majority.

Markus said...

At Anom 3:28
If private property owners, including commercial, businesses and non-commercial, benefit the city via property taxes and all other local, TOT,taxes/f ees, all of which makes a substantial portion of the city's revenue. I would think the city would be very concerned about the sea walls and other protection needed to protect a billion + dollars of property. All above essentially, is payment in lieu of any indemnity. The city keeps gunning down their biggest revenue sources, time after time. In addition, there are other sources of funds made available by the County, State, Feds and organizations. Don't forget, we have a double edge sword running through here aka Hwy 1. I think all above mentioned parties have a great interest in keeping it well protected.

Anonymous said...

The peeps here saying the ocean discovery center will be funded entirely by private sources don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. Go ask the people “in the know.” The project requires substantial city funding (aka a bond). Which is why it’s: a) never gonna happen, and; b) a totally hypocritical stance when it comes to sea level rise

Anonymous said...

9:40 you don't know what the hell you're talking about. The proposal for ocean discovery center would not require city funding, let alone a bond measure. The whole idea is that it would be privately funded. If it required city funding, it's a total non-starter.

Anonymous said...

We're gonna need bigger parking lots.

Anonymous said...

9:40 you don't know what the hell you're talking about. The proposal for ocean discovery center would not require city funding, let alone a bond measure. The whole idea is that it would be privately funded. If it required city funding, it's a total non-starter.

You should stop posting about this. It's getting embarrassing. You're obviously not "in the know." A public bond will be needed though the size of it is unknown at this point. So yeah, it's a total non-starter. Glad you see that.

Anonymous said...

Last night's council meeting was one of the most embarrassing displays of ineptitude and pandering to the loony faux-environmentalists I have seen in a long time. It at least rivals the antics of the orange idiot in the white house. Deirdre slipping on her own SLR vomit. Digre lost in space. Keener still incomprehensibly against everything and pre-scripting the city attorney.
Sue Vauterlaus was solid, sensible and practical. O'Neill was able to see through this bullshit show by the commie obstructionists. I'll give him a pass at approving the wasting of six more months before issuing an RFP for a revenue producing hotel. He knows these people are fraudulant and incompetent and triangulated that in six months, Deirdre's gang of "Nothing for Pacifica", won't accomplish anything and then we'll be free of their encumbrances on this valuable piece of property so we can finally move forward.
What a fucking joke Pacifica has become.

Anonymous said...

Explain to those of us who aren't "in the know" why a public bond would be needed for a privately-funded project? Would a public bond be needed for a hotel? If not, why would it be needed for a hotel that included another privately-funded project? What do you know that nobody else does?

Anonymous said...

oneill fumbled. He was third vote to move ocean discovery forward. He does not get a pass.

Anonymous said...

City staff was only one competent last night: looking out for $900,000 yr revenue and a clear cut hotel proposal.Council wallows around in unfunded dream costing staff precious time and money.

Anonymous said...

Explain to those of us who aren't "in the know" why a public bond would be needed for a privately-funded project?

Because it's not going to be an entirely "privately-funded project," you nitwit. It will rely on a public bond for a substantial portion of its funding. My god, stop pretending you know what's going on.

The Local Libertarian said...

Out of curiosity and naivete, why isn't the area west of Highway 1 and between Paloma and Clarendon zoned fully mixed commercial or special commercial?

The current zoning map shows it zoned as largely R1, R2 & R3
Some parts are zoned C1, C2 & C3.

Current Zoning Map:

See pages: 12 & 7

With the current housing shortage being what it is, can we push for multi-storied Residential + Commercial in this area?

Or why should we not?

Anonymous said...

You completely underestimate Mike O'Neill. If he had voted no, the rabid NOBIES would have gathered all of their wrinkled up flower children and ginned up another 20 years of obstructionist theater. Something they are very good at.
Surprise, surprise ... now after twenty years of research and development, they have 6 months to bring a concrete and financially viable project to the negotiation table. Something they have never had to do before and something that will fail under the incompetent mentor ship of Kaufman and Deirdre.
Thank you Mike for saving us from 19-1/2 more years of screwball, pot smoke torture.
If they were really serious, they should buy the Taco Bell eyesore and put it right on the calm water beach at Linda Mar which also has a pump house to draw water for the fishkies. Or they could put in on the expansive parking lot next to Peter Loeb's Rockaway Beach hovel and tap into the in/out flow of our state of the art sewage treatment plant.
Funny how Deirdre was emphatically opposed to the library and any development on Beach Blvd because of sea level rise and is now trying to pick our pockets to help her puppet masters build something on the very same Beach Blvd site.
Can you say ... Lying, Manipulative, HYPOCRITE!!!!