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Empty 'Palomar Card Room' draws homeless, graffiti, trash

Photo credit:
Google Street View

Update: Aug. 28, 2018 The charges brought against Naseem “Nick” Salem as reported in this article were completely dismissed with prejudice.

The building that once housed the Palomar Casino, née Palomar Card Club, has been closed for over a year. Vandals and the homeless population have staked the property, leaving it littered with garbage and graffiti.

The property located at 2724 El Cajon Boulevard was raided by the FBI in December 2015 for allegedly violating federal gambling laws including laundering, bookmaking and improper reporting of winnings reports the San Diego Reader.

The case against Naseem “Nick” Salem, the casino’s operator, is proceeding and motions will be filed at the end of June with a hearing at the end of August.

There are rules that must be adhered to by the property owners when a building is left vacant and The San Diego Development Services enforces them to ensure the building is free from unauthorized entry.

A No Trespassing sign has been posted since February 2015.

Salem’s attorney, Gregory A. Vega, says even though the case is moving along as planned, he cannot comment of the state or condition of the property

“I don’t represent the entity [Palomar Card Club] so I can’t answer your questions about the property,” Salem told the San Diego Reader.

However, The El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association would like to discuss options for Palomar’s future.

“Palomar [Card Club] sits on a rather large underdeveloped site that we feel can be developed, and still keep commercial space on the ground level. We would love to sit down and share ideas, as we have with many property owners in our district,” said Secretary and chair of the economic development committee, John O’Connor.

El Cajon Boulevard has seen a lot of development over the past few years and that includes the controversial razing of the Bernie Michels-Thom Carey house, hub and epicenter of the San Diego LGBT movement of the 70's which lead to the creation of the  San Diego LGBT Community Center in Hillcrest.  

Developers are currently constructing the 165 unit, mixed-use project on the old spot called BLVD under the H.G. Fenton Co. 

Also, in 2014, Burger King on El Cajon Boulevard way for a Sonic fast food franchise.

And just two blocks south of El Cajon Boulevard, on Texas Street, a 76-unit LGBT-inclusive senior living center is being constructed, scheduled to open later this year.