The mystery of who purchased the former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration building on Point Pinos in Pacific Grove for $4.8 million is solved. A mother, Yuncheng Huang, and her son, Tianzhi Chu, who live on the East Coast, proffered the winning bid on April 6 in an auction by the U.S. General Services Administration, a GSA spokesperson confirms.
What remains a mystery is whether the pair had any idea about the tight constraints on the property, which is located not only in a protected coastal zone and dune habitat, but also on an ancestral site of the Ohlone Costanoan Esselen Nation. Tribal Chairwoman Louise Miranda Ramirez got a call recently from someone who saw the new owners possibly pulling weeds. She immediately contacted P.G. officials to complain about disturbance of soil that may contain the remains of her ancestors.
“If they really didn’t know what they bought and they found a piece of bone, would they know what to do with it? Would they throw it away?” Ramirez asks. “They need to be educated, they need to know what they bought.” Attempts by the Weekly to contact the new owners were unsuccessful.
Charles Greene is one of the organizers of COAST, a group of locals advocating to turn the NOAA building into a museum and educational center. The group is trying to connect with the owners. “Our goal is to try to work with them. If they really are in a situation where they own an expensive piece of property we’d like to help them figure out how to get out of that,” Greene says.
Greene is accusing the GSA of unethical behavior in selling the building without contacting the city and other groups, like the OCEN tribe. He also suggests another agency, the Public Building Reform Board, engaged in illegal actions that allowed the sale. “When push comes to shove somebody will have to challenge them legally,” Greene says.