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New owners and new plans in store for historic Alex Bar-B-Q location in Pismo Beach

Angel Russell

There are new owners and new plans for the old historic Alex Bar-B-Q in Shell Beach, which has been vacant for several years after the building was demolished in 2018.

On Shell Beach Road, a vacant lot is surrounded by a wood fence. Inside the fence are remnants from a demolished building and a dilapidated chimney.

But before it was an eyesore, this property used to be an iconic building from the 1930s. It was last used as a restaurant called Alex Bar-B-Q, which closed its doors in 2014.

“When I moved here, it was the happening spot,” said Colleen Gnos, who lives down the street from the lot.

Gnos said the building was rich in history, and she was shocked when it was demolished in 2018 in what was supposed to be just a remodel.

The owners at the time, Compass Health, reportedly planned to renovate the old building and bring in a new restaurant.

But instead, the entire building was demolished, prompting community uproar. The city subsequently halted the project and revoked all its permits.

“This building in particular has so much history. There are so many stories surrounding it, and it was sad," Gnos said. "It was sad to see it gone.”

Compass Health no longer owns the property, and sold it last year to Bucky ‘n’ Bean, LLC.

Now, the new owners are proposing a two-story development for both commercial and residential use.

Warren Hamrick, designer of the project, said he and the owners are all locals and understand the historical importance of the site.

“We have some of the remnants of the old building," Hamrick said. "We have the old Alex’s sign that we would like to integrate into this project someplace, we aren’t quite clear where.”

The proposal includes four commercial spaces and three residential condominiums with outdoor decks.

The Pismo Beach Planning Commission recently reviewed the proposal, and is now asking the community to voice their opinions and provide feedback on the conceptual plans.

For more information on the plans, click here.

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.
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