The Upper Voltaire Street corridor is a neighborhood commercial district extending from Point Loma High School to Ocean Beach.
New merchants are relocating to this increasingly attractive section of the Peninsula. Also in the works are much-needed residential projects, as well as well-timed infrastructure improvements.
Two new eateries — Car’s Jars and Royale — recently moved into the corridor.
New apartment and condominium projects are on the way. One, tentatively named Upper Voltaire, is under construction and another, tentatively named Nimitz Crossing, is in final design.
And major infrastructure projects, such as Voltaire bridge improvements over Nimitz, and Wabaska Drive feeder street being redesigned to make it more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly, are also in the pipeline.
It’s all good, said Point Loma insurance agent Matt Kalla, who sits on the board of Ocean Beach MainStreet Association.
“We have created a committee called the North OB Committee. Our hope is to gain the interests of the business owners and property owners by making it a mission to improve the Voltaire Street corridor,” said Kalla. “This includes the area from Voltaire Street and W. Point Loma Boulevard all the way to Chatsworth Boulevard, and the arms in between.”
Kalla said redevelopment was necessary.
“This is a much-welcomed need to clean up the corridor and make it a viable area to do business,” he said. “We just need people to communicate what their concerns are, and address them as a whole community. The renaissance will ultimately help the property values, make it safer for families to walk the streets and provide an enhanced business corridor.”
Clark Anthony, president of the Point Loma Association, also weighed-in on Upper Voltaire’s transformation.
“Voltaire Street is a natural link between Point Loma and Ocean Beach,” Anthony said. “The city’s upcoming construction on the Voltaire bridge has inspired volunteers to suggest additional refinements to the area, like acorn-style street lamps. New mixed-use projects in the area – UpperVoltaire and Nimitz Crossing – are upgrading housing and shopping opportunities. It’s great these developers and other businesses are committing dollars toward the additional improvements proposed by the community. We hope persistence pays off, and the spirit of cooperation will create a walkable, inviting area.”
About four years ago, Carly McHenry and her family began a salad-in-a-Mason-jar home-delivery business. Car’s Jars now inhabits an Upper Voltaire storefront. Carly’s mother, Nancy, spoke glowingly of the ongoing Voltaire renaissance.
“It’s cleaned [things] up a lot,” Nancy McHenry said. “The merchants in the area are all pulling together, and the area is really looking a lot better, not like it used to be. It’s exciting.”
Nancy McHenry pointed out her daughter, Carly, began with a home-based business selling 40 jars of salad a week. “I believe we’re up to about 600 jars a week, including catering,” said Nancy McHenry, noting a build-a-salad component may soon be added to the burgeoning business.
Nancy McHenry pointed out revitalization in the Upper Voltaire corridor is “really paying off and it is inspiring in the amount of [economic] diversifying that is going on.”
Among the many retail changes happening along the Voltaire corridor:
To the Point Cafe & Eatery: New owners Simone and Cecilia Scurzoni from Northern Italy have taken over and added new menu items/touches to the 4161 Voltaire St. restaurant.
Royale: The new restaurant at 4204 Voltaire St. is now open evenings and all-day weekends for burgers and cocktails.
Pet grooming: Dr. Gary Rose’s animal-care operation is in the two-story building. The old one-story building has been refurbished for pet grooming.
Sunshine Liquor (relocation): Spokesman Jason Greminger says they are addressing tenant improvements and exterior upgrades that were conditions of the building permit in its new Upper Voltaire location.
Petals by Katie: Florist Katie Byrnes is going with the flow of changes on Upper Voltaire, adding weddings and special events to her flower mix.
Voltaire Corridor infrastructure and residential changes include:
Voltaire bridge overhaul: The landmark Voltaire bridge over Nimitz is about to get a 75-year overhaul. Corridor merchants are working to make the bridge much more aesthetic adding suspension bridge-style railing and historic street lamps.
• Wabaska Drive: This feeder street was redesigned to make it more bicyclist- and pedestrian-friendly with diagonal parking put in place to add more parking spaces.
Upper Voltaire mixed-use: Kien Truong has plans for mixed-use at street level with residential below next to the Reunion Pub at 2205 Mendocinio Blvd. The redevelopment project will be reaching the Peninsula Community Planning Board soon after a year of tweaking by the city.