of different era in life of harbor
A historic building that withstood the 1964 tsunami fell under the excavator’s shovel last week.
The old ice plant at 270 U.S. Highway 101 near Ocean World has been demolished by Hector and Eileen Brown, who own the neighboring Ocean View Inn. Excavators were clearing the last of the debris Monday.
“I used to get ice blocks from there — 350-pound blocks,” said fisherman Garry Young. “Then transport them down to the dock to go through an ice crusher and go on the boat.”
Associate City Planner Eric Taylor said that when the Browns received a conditional use permit to build Ocean View Inn in April 2011, one of the conditions was the removal of the old ice plant.
In June 2011, the Crescent City Council asked the redevelopment agency to grant $45,000 in redevelopment funds to the Browns to help pay for the demolition and debris removal costs. But when Gov. Jerry Brown made the decision to abolish RDAs, that money went away, Taylor said. Now the Browns are footing the bill for everything, he said.
“As far as RDA projects go it would have been an ideal RDA project,” Taylor said, adding that trash had covered the property and someone had once dumped a load of squid that could be smelled throughout the city. “It was probably the worst blighted property in the city, and then we got a great new development there.”
The Browns purchased the 2.24-acre ice plant property in October 2007 for $279,237 at a public auction. The plant’s last owners, EMK Products Inc., were commercial seafood processors and owed funds they didn’t have to a former client. They needed to sell off their property to be able to pay that client.
The Browns also own the Bay View Inn and Lighthouse Inn.
Young said in the plant’s early days he would fish for tuna, salmon, shrimp and bottom fish. He said Bob Doan owned the facility at the time and called it Del Norte Ice. Doan also had freezers people could rent and he cut meat.
“Bob was (also) the one responsible for building an ice plant at the end of the dock and then he sold it to Pacific Choice,” Young said.
When asked how he felt about it being torn down, Young said he thought it was time.
“Its hey days were past, and it probably needed to come down,” he said.