Famous floating restaurant now sinking in San Diego Bay - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Famous floating restaurant now sinking in San Diego Bay

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A landmark floating restaurant on Harbor Island for over 40 years is sinking into San Diego Bay.

Now the Reuben E. Lee may end up as scrap metal after a multi-million dollar renovation literally took a dive.

The restaurant was build on Harbor Island in 1969 and served as a landmark floating restaurant until it was towed away in April. Over the weekend, it sank to the bottom of the bay at a shipyard near the Coronado Bridge.

Captain Eric Lamb with Vessel Assist took News 8 out to take a look.

"It's sad when you see something that carried that much history with it. When it's time to go, the ocean takes it back," Lamb said.

The restaurant closed in 2003 due to disrepair. Even back then, water had to be pumped out of the hull constantly, according to Lamb.

After it sank Sunday, the Coast Guard inspected it and found the hull corroded and leaking.

"The Reuben E. Lee does not have a motor. It was never meant to carry passengers. It was essentially a barge built into a restaurant," Lt. John Bannon said.

Sunroad Enterprises and the Cohn Restaurant Group were planning a $9 million renovation of the restaurant, according to published reports. The barge was going to be used as part of a special events venue at the site. Now those plans may be underwater too.

"It has so much damage from years of neglect on it, it would be pretty costly to make this thing usable again," Lamb said.

Sunroad Enterprises has plans to build a 175-room hotel on Harbor Island near the site where the Reuben E. Lee restaurant operated. Executives with Sunroad did not return messages seeking comment.

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