City opens bidding for OB Pier Café concession
by NEAL PUTNAM
Published - 05/05/10 - 04:53 PM | 16645 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Visitors pass by the Ocean Beach Pier Café, where the lease is currently up for renewal. 	PHOTO BY JIM GRANT I THE BEACON
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The city of San Diego is seeking bids for someone to operate the Ocean Beach Pier Cafe and the bait and tackle shop after its lease expired with the current operator Feb. 28.

The Land Use and Housing Committee voted 4-0 on April 21 to issue a 14-page request for proposals for someone to operate the city-owned concession building built in 1966. The vote passed without comment, and District 2 City Councilman Kevin Faulconer said it was standard procedure to issue requests for bids when a lease expires.

The latest operators are Charles and Shannon Fisher, who have run the business since 1993. Charles Fisher told The Peninsula Beacon he has not yet decided on whether to bid to continue running the café and bait and tackle shop.

He said the issuing of bids is something the city does every 10 years, adding the city sent him the forms to fill out and he is considering submitting them before the June 17 deadline.

“It has been a joy to serve out there. It’s been a great adventure,” said Fisher. “It stays busy.”

The previous lease was an annual rent of $40,730 versus 10 percent of gross sales. In fiscal year 2009, the city collected $64,116.

In fiscal year 2008, the city collected $44,467, and in fiscal year 2007, the city received $56,470. In fiscal year 2006, revenues were reported at $33,422, according to records. The Fishers are operating the business on a holdover lease.

The City Council report says the Fishers did extensive repairs and improvements to the building since 1993. The couple installed new exterior doors, repaired the roof, remodeled the bait shop, installed peripheral building lights for security and safety, and upgraded the electrical system of the building. As part of the lease agreement, the lessee is responsible for interior and exterior maintenance.

Fisher said the business needs another $100,000 in improvements to “take it to the next level.”

Fisher said a new operator of the business — if that is the case — would have to consider times in which the business is closed, such as during rainstorms. He said sometimes the restaurant and bait and tackle shop can be closed for months due to the wintry weather conditions.

The pier is also closed off with a gate at high tides periodically.

The cafe sells food, beverages, souvenirs of local interest, sundries, tobacco products, bait and fishing tackle. The operator has the right to use two rubber-tired trams for public transportation and mobile vending on the pier.

Fisher said before he took over the lease in 1993, the previous lessee served or sold alcohol. Fisher said he voluntarily stopped that practice when he took over because police were forced to respond to several incidents involving alcohol.

Prospective operators have been invited to look at the business on Friday, May 14 at 9 a.m. at the foot of the pier, 5091 Niagara Ave. It will give prospective operators a chance to ask questions and inspect the premises. City officials said they will not summarize information to prospective operators who do not show up that day.

The full City Council will eventually vote on the successful bidder. Usually, city staff goes through the best proposals and forwards the names of several prospective operators who have the best bids and experience.

The lessee will be required to deposit a construction bond for any improvements made, and will be required to carry public liability and property damage insurance. The city would be named as an insured owner in an insurance policy of not less than $2 million.

All proposals must list the complete identity of the applicant, including current financial statements, Social Security number and income tax returns for the preceding three years. Bidders must disclose credit information, banking references, liabilities, assets and net worth.

Each applicant must include a cashier’s or certified check in the amount of $5,000, payable to the City Treasurer’s Office. The $5,000 will be paid back to the applicants who are not selected for the lease.

The proposal coordinator is Vladimir Balotsky, who is the supervising property agent for the city.
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