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HUNTINGTON BEACH : Jack’s New Design Gives Council Pause

As plans move forward for the new incarnation of Jack’s Surfboards shop downtown, City Council members have raised concerns about a tower proposed in the building’s preliminary design.

Mike Abdelmuti, owner of the demolished store at Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street and its adjacent annex, is proposing a new design that would be similar to the Pierside Pavilion across from his shop.

The plaster, stone and granite structure is proposed to stand 89 feet tall--just two feet shorter than Pierside Pavilion--and would include a fourth-story tower.

For years a venerable landmark on the city’s oceanfront, the original Jack’s Surfboards was demolished after a bulge in one wall was discovered last December, raising concerns about the structure’s safety.

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City officials still are negotiating plans for the new building with Abdelmuti. The remaining issues in contention include parking requirements, the configuration of a public plaza and some design aspects.

Council members have specific concerns about the tower.

Mayor Peter M. Green and Councilwoman Linda Moulton-Patterson, noting that the council-approved design guidelines provide for a three-story building, said they objected to the fourth story.

Abdelmuti said he proposed adding the tower so the building would counter-balance Pierside Pavilion, creating a gateway-like entrance from the pier onto Main Street.

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“If you have two buildings, one up and one down, it’s ugly,” he said. “We want to make it nice looking. We don’t want just another Motel 6 here on the corner.”

He said the fourth-floor tower would serve as his 3,500-square-foot office, and would feature two large clocks on the outside, “for surfers to see from the ocean.”

Council opponents, however, said they want the surfboard shop to be a distinctive building that does not mirror the modern, Mediterranean-styled Pierside Pavilion shopping center.

Ultimately, council members will have final say on what the building looks like.

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“If the Planning Commission and the City Council doesn’t like what it sees, you can change it,” City Administrator Michael T. Uberuaga told council members last week. “And with this key location, I think we need to spend a great deal of time to get exactly what we want.”


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