PACIFICA (KCBS) – Crews in Pacifica on Monday demolished an apartment building located atop an eroding bluff above the ocean.
The building at 310 Esplanade Avenue was determined to be uninhabitable and residents were evacuated almost a year ago.
The final decision to demolish the building was made last month.
Three high-reach excavators tore through the wood framed-apartments like they were nothing, a sort of orchestrated ballet of demolition.
It took a matter of an hour or two to reduce the buildings to rubble.
“It’s kind of sad, but it had to be done,” said neighbor Judy Caletti. “I can’t believe they didn’t fall into the ocean because of the rugged winter storms we’ve had.”
Drone footage shows how the buildings have been teetering on the crumbling cliff for years.
Last year, the city demolished two other neighboring buildings and red-tagged this one, forcing residents to move out.
The remaining building was slated to be torn down, but the recent storms only sped up that process.
“Essentially time ran out and we are where we are and the buildings needed to come down for public safety,” said Pacifica City Manager Lorie Tinfow.
Otis and Jeanette Wyatt told KPIX 5 their neighborhood will change overnight. With the demolition of these apartments, a whole new set of renters will have ocean-front property.
“This is the perfect place to live, I guarantee it,” said Otis Wyatt.
For about a dozen apartments on the east side of Esplanade, the demolition has a very nice silver lining. Residents once had a view of another apartment building. But now they have a nearly 180 degree clear view of the ocean.
After thinking about it, Wyatt admitted it might not be all good news.
“You know they’re going to automatically bring that rent up,” said Wyatt.
Several renters would only talk off camera. One said it was a dream come true. But another said her rent just went up to $2,500 last month and she’s bracing for more.
The city says the apartments contained some hazardous materials that no one wanted falling into the ocean. Besides presenting a health hazard, it would add to the cost and difficulty of cleaning it up.
The air around the demo site was closely monitored throughout the day.
“They are taking samples and they’re going to run tests, making sure that the dust is kept to minimal levels,” said Van Ocampo with Pacifica Public Works.
There are other cliffhanging buildings in Pacifica which seem stable enough for now, but some residents are wondering how long they might last.