Oceanside Municipal Pier repairs expected to be ready toward year’s end

Utility replacement boosted by funding from American Rescue Plan Recovery Act


The Oceanside Pier is pictured in November 2020. The pier is currently undergoing a utility replacement project, slated for completion by this coming September. (OsideNews file photo by Steve Marcotte)

In spite of recent rainstorms and high tides, the Oceanside Municipal Pier Utility Replacement Project is progressing with the goal of completion by September 2023.

The project includes major water, sewage and electrical repairs to the 1,942-foot-long wooden pier, intended to fix the years of wear and tear the pier has experienced since it was rebuilt in 1987.

Oceanside Public Works division manager Nathan Mertz says the project endured through a handful of “rain days” that temporarily stopped construction, but the inclement weather has not delayed the planned completion schedule for repairs.

According to Mertz, the completed utility repairs are anticipated to last for decades if not longer and expected to make future improvements and repairs simpler.

OsideNews“Beyond just upgrading the materials and making them new, we’re using materials that may last longer than the original and (should be) easier to repair if needed,” Mertz said.

In September 2022, a $5.556 million contract was awarded to Jilk Heavy Construction to overhaul the utilities on the iconic pier. Of the project’s funding, $4 million has been awarded from the American Rescue Plan Recovery Act with the remaining roughly $1.5 million being funded by the city of Oceanside.

In addition, a separate contract for construction support and inspection services was awarded to Richard Brady and Associates of San Diego. This $553,700 contract also includes a 10% contingency fund that includes $556,000 for potential additional costs, with all money coming from the city.

Adam Lockwood, owner of Oceanside Pier & Bait, runs the only business currently operating on the pier.

The bait shop has been the pier’s sole active business since the ’50s-themed restaurant Ruby’s Diner, formerly located at the end of the pier, permanently closed in 2021 after 25 years of operation.

Lockwood spoke positively of recent housing, restaurant and infrastructure improvements within Oceanside as a general effort to make the city look nicer.

When people come to Oceanside, chances are they’re going to go on the pier, so you want to make your best effort to make that clean. And I think that what they’re doing now is a big step.

— Adam Lockwood, owner of Oceanside Pier & Bait

But at the heart of the beachfront, Lockwood says the current improvements to the pier — a landmark that draws in thousands of visitors annually — are another major step in the right direction.

“I think they’re trying to get (the pier) to where it’s clean and presentable, you know, the pride of Oceanside,” Lockwood said. “When people come to Oceanside, chances are they’re going to go on the pier, so you want to make your best effort to make that clean. And I think that what they’re doing now is a big step.”

In February 2021, the lease for the vacant restaurant and kiosk located at the end of the pier was awarded to RAV LLC, a company based in San Francisco owned by attorney Alexander Leff, officially replacing the Ruby’s Diner location.

Also in February 2021, the company purchased the lease and assets of the former Ruby’s Diner located at Huntington Beach Pier, eventually using the space to create Bud & Gene’s, a seafood restaurant named after Huntington Beach’s first-ever lifeguards.

With RAV LLC’s Huntington Beach restaurant exhibiting local ties to its beachfront location, similar expectations have been set for the new Oceanside location.

“They’re working towards a concept development for Oceanside that will be unique to Oceanside … each location is bespoke to that town or city,” Mertz said.

The development of the new “family-friendly seafood restaurant” is being directly undertaken by OS Pier LLC, another company owned by Leff that was registered in August 2021.

Currently, no name has been officially announced yet for either the primary restaurant location or the adjoining kiosk located at the Oceanside Municipal Pier.

Adjacent to the primary two-story restaurant location at the end of the pier, the 109-square-foot “snack shack” kiosk will be operated by local restaurateurs Jessica and Davin Waite.

The Waites are owners of several Oceanside restaurants including Shootz Fish & Beer, The Plot and Wrench & Rodent. The kiosk is expected to serve as a takeout establishment that goes hand in hand with the primary location.

Ryan Hardison is a local freelance writer.