Boat-shaped building in Morro Bay can’t be saved from demolition — aside from bits and pieces

It doesn’t appear the “kitschy” boat-shaped building on the Morro Bay waterfront can be saved from demolition.

The Historical Society of Morro Bay had hoped to move the entire Finicky Fish building deemed by the organization to be a historical structure. Now, plans have changed to instead preserve portions of the building at 1245 Embarcadero, formerly home to the popular Dockside 3 restaurant, after the Historical Society realized there are too many problems associated with a potential move.

After an inspection, it was revealed that some of the building’s interior has dry rot and mold, said Glenn Silloway, the society’s president.

But pieces will be saved from the building, believed to have been constructed in the 1950s by Virg Moores, that’s dear to the hearts of many Morro Bay residents, Silloway said.

Silloway said that his group is also taking a lot of photos of the landmark, which got its name because it’s where the old Finicky Fish Market operated, and together with the pieces hope to have a display that honors its legacy.

Plans to demolish the building and build a new structure have been in the works since 2007, prior to owner Bob Fowler purchasing the property, and the demolition is expected to begin in October.

Fowler’s new 5,800-square-foot project will house the Morro Bay Landing and Grassy Bar Oyster Co. A restaurant space and two retail spaces are currently available in the future structure. The property will also have a pocket park for public use with benches and a walkway, Fowler told The Tribune in August.

“Right now, what we are saving are the ceiling in the main dining area that has wonderful, tarnished wood and some old Mexican tiles,” Silloway said. “What we’re looking for is to store these materials, and hoping for someone in the vicinity to donate some indoor, dry space to keep them.”

Dockside 3, owned by Mark Tognazzini, which opened in 2013, closed earlier this month. Tognazzini said he’s focusing his business on his Dockside and Dockside Too restaurants.

The Historical Society is working to establish a permanent museum location, but currently doesn’t have a facility for display and storage space. The society is seeking a garage or storage locker for pieces up to 12 feet in length.

Silloway said that people in Morro Bay have a deep connection to its unique architectural landmarks and character, and without observant watchdogs, historic sites could be demolished before people know it.

“What happened with the (tear-down) of Alex’s BBQ in (Shell Beach) could have easily happened here with this little building,” Silloway said. “It almost went the same way. ...We can lose these landmarks and buildings of importance to the community because no one is engaged. I’m glad we had people paying attention to this.”

Local news matters: We rely on readers like you more than ever before, and we currently offer free access to five stories a month. Support us further with a digital subscription to help ensure we can provide strong local journalism for many years to come. #ReadLocal

Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune