Del Mar Council approves addition to deck at Powerhouse Community Center

A rendering of the new balcony from the south side.

A longtime host of weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties, fundraisers and other local events, the Powerhouse Community Center will receive an 829-foot extension to its second story deck.

The Del Mar City Council gave its approval for the project at its Oct. 21 meeting. Its total cost will be approximately $560,000. The city of Del Mar, which owns the property, will contribute $200,000 over the next two years, and the nonprofit Friends of the Powerhouse will raise the remainder of the funds needed.

“Now that we know we can go ahead, we’re ready to roll,” said Marnie Mahoney, a Friends of the Powerhouse executive board member.

The next step will be securing a construction contract, with work scheduled to commence in the first two months of the new year.

Barbara Harper, another member of the Friends of the Powerhouse executive board, said the group will turn its attention to fundraising. Fundraising efforts for the center have included sales of personalized bricks and tiles, holiday events, and donations from companies, Del Mar residents and many others who have frequented the adjacent beach and park areas.

“I’m hoping we can get this over, keep it moving, all go out to dinner, have a great time and enjoy the Powerhouse,” Harper told council members shortly before they unanimously agreed to move forward with the project.

Harper, the organization’s founding president, started Friends of the Powerhouse in 1997 with the support of local residents who wanted to preserve, maintain and make improvements to the property for the benefit of the community.

Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the Powerhouse supplied hot water and steam to the Hotel Del Mar, before serving as a nightclub and desalinization test plant. In the 1980s, the Powerhouse had been closed for about 20 years, and developers viewed the land as a prime restaurant location. The city purchased the land in 1983 and changed the zoning to prevent commercial development.

Gala Yayia, the executive board president, said the Powerhouse is “the golden child, in a way,” in the city with all the support it has received from local leaders and residents.

Since its inception, Friends of the Powerhouse’s stated goal has been to “provide a facility that may be used by as many people as possible in the community.”

“It’s an example of what Del Mar does for the broader community around us,” City Councilwoman Terry Gaasterland said, “to be able to be at the beach and use this setting for important events in their lives, including weddings and anniversaries.”

The Powerhouse Community Center is located at 1658 Coast Boulevard. For more information, visit