Work is progressing on major construction projects on the Morro Bay Embarcadero with a small vacation rental facility nearing completion and the roofline of another new building taking a somewhat Oriental shape.
Bob Fowler is the master leaseholder for Morro Bay Landing, next door to the Harbor Hut. His project is the current iteration of a plan that was first approved about 15 years ago when Virg’s Landing held the lease and operated a tackle shop, sport fishing and whale watching charter business.
Gene Doughty of Land-Sea Interface was the architect for the project and is also helping build it along with Fowler, who is acting as owner/builder. Doughty said he designed it to cantilever over the water, matching the way the old building was built. The design feels hefty with huge timbers and Doughty said that’s intentional.
“It’s designed so when you’re walking in it, it feels like you’re under a pier or dock,” Doughty explained, taking a short timeout.
The concrete slab is hefty too. It’s up to 24-inches thick using a “floating mat slab” design, Doughty said. The roofline is special too.
Doughty said he wanted to pick up the flow and movement of the bay waters, and thus the sway of the timbers. “Some people say it looks Oriental,” he said, smiling.
Fowler said Patriot Sportfishing will reopen a tackle shop and Grassy Bar Oyster Co. will set up a processing and sales facility, too. There are a couple of other spaces available (call 805-701-5702) and Fowler said he was negotiating with someone for the restaurant space.
The wet winter slowed the job down but they expect work to progress quickly, now.
“We’re looking at July (to be finished),” Fowler said. “We didn’t have a full, five day work week until the middle of January.”
Fowler said the new building will cost some $1.6 million.
The Harbor Hut recently completed rebuilding a floating dock and connected it to the new docks at Morro Bay Landing and with Fowler’s previous dock replacement. What was mostly empty water is now a very nice, modern marina for large boats. Sport fishing boats and cruise boats continue to operate from the docks. Fishing trips can be booked at a temporary tackle shop in a trailer at the front of the construction site.
Across the Embarcadero, in the 1100 block of Front St., the finishing touches were going into a six-unit vacation rental/hotel called “Salty Sister Suites at
Terri Hicks of Seven Sisters Vacation Rentals is handling the booking and her husband, Brett Whitaker, built it.She said technically they’re a hotel but it was “designed more like a home.” Each suite has a kitchen and other amenities one expects in a vacation home rental. And yet the interior can be opened up and the whole building becomes like one big house. It’ll sleep 24, she said, with six master suites, six bathrooms, multiple kitchens and game rooms, a rooftop deck and more. Or it can be closed off into individual suites and rented separately.
“People want to be together,” Hicks explained, “but they still like their privacy.” Two of the suites are handicap accessible too.
Hicks said she’s already booked the whole facility for one large family coming to town for Cal Poly graduation in June. But it still wasn’t big enough, so she pointed them toward the Bayfront Inn a few doors down, and “We’ll send them to Frankie & Lola’s for breakfast,” Hicks laughed. For information on booking, call (805) 900-6000.
A third major construction project involves The Boatyard Center and Otter Rock Café lease sites in the 800 block of Embarcadero. The project is making repairs, rebuilding a failed seawall at The Boatyard and putting in new floating docks and slips, plus a tear-up/remodel of the old Otter Rock.
The project has meant the temporary closure of Rock Kayaks and the dislocating of the Bay Cruisers Electric Boat Rentals to next door and moving the Lost Isle Tiki Boat to a public dock next to the Hofbrau. A small coffee and sandwich shop and other small retail shops have closed, too during construction.
Lost Isle owner/Capt. Dane Jacobs, said they continue to run the Tiki Boat on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Call 805-771-1041, otherwise, the boat with a full bar leaves every hour.
Jacobs said, “We’re hoping they finish it up pretty quick.” He added that it’s been a tough go, as they also had to close their retail Tiki Store because of the construction. “But it’s worked out OK,” he said, because of all the bad weather this winter. He anticipates when the work is done, they’ll go back to the operation they had before with a Tiki Store and cruise boat.
Jacobs is optimistic it will all eventually “get back to business as usual.”
As for the new restaurant, according to City reports, the leaseholder, Cliff Branch, is planning to lease the restaurant space to Sunny Smith, who owns Willow Market Restaurants in Nipomo
and Shell Beach.