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Tom Lochtefeld stood before San Diego city councilmembers Tuesday, November 9, and urged them to direct the city's Real Estate Assets Department to restart negotiations on Belmont Park's land lease and rethink the 700 percent rent increase that the department imposed. If not, said Lochtefeld, the Coney Island–inspired amusement park in Mission Beach may take its final plunge.

"We have a crisis," said Lochtefeld to city councilmembers during non-agenda public comment. "This Friday, the bank is going to foreclose, and I will no longer be the owner."

Lochtefeld, who has spent nearly $12.7 million in capital improvements to the park since assuming the lease in 2002, testified that the Real Estate Assets Department has rejected efforts to renegotiate the land lease and increased the rent on the land by 700 percent.

"Action needs to be taken immediately," added Lochtefeld. "If the bank doesn't get an extension in the next day or so, it's all going to collapse."

During its 85 years in operation, Belmont Park has seen its fair share of ups and downs. The park closed in 1976 and years later, the park's main attraction, the Giant Dipper roller coaster, was set afire. By the early 1980s, the surrounding area turned from a tourist destination to a getaway for addicts and transients.

In the mid ’80s, looking to redevelop and reinvigorate the park and the area, city officials decided to issue nearly $6 million in rent credits on the land. The rent credits attracted new owners. Renovations were made to the park, and a lifeguard tower and restroom facilities were built.

However, the city continued to issue the rent credits over the $6 million they initially set aside as a way to spark new development. So far, the city has given credits upwards of $17 million to the lessees. Now, the city’s Real Estate Assets Department wants to recoup lost revenues on the land.

Lochtefeld says if that happens and if the city steps aside and allows the bank to foreclose on Belmont Park, revenues from sales tax from the park's 4 million visitors a year would freefall, and 500 San Diegans would be out of work.

"The consequence is that I will not be there. And [because] I control 55 percent of the incomes, the park is going to go away, and you guys will be sitting with a big hole there."

As Lochtefeld stepped away from the podium, councilmember Carl DeMaio asked city staff to look into Real Estate Assets Department's decision to raise the rent and inform the city council before any decisions are made.

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a2zresource Nov. 9, 2010 @ 6:30 p.m.

Beachfront condos are a developer's dream... and proximity to the Pacific makes it a wet one. The local bar scene would be pleased with a massive new customer source.

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nan shartel Nov. 10, 2010 @ 1 p.m.

oh no peeps!!!!

say it isn't so!!!

may anyone even thinking of living in a condo there have permanent sand in their underpants!!! :-{{

this reminds me of the Joni Mitchell song Big Yellow Taxi

They paved paradise And put up a parking lot With a pink hotel, a boutique And a swinging hot SPOT Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you've got ‘Til it's gone They paved paradise And put up a parking lot

They took all the trees And put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people A dollar and a half just to see 'em Don't it always seem to go, That you don't know what you've got ‘Til it's gone They paved paradise And put up a parking lot

Hey farmer, farmer Put away that DDT now Give me spots on my apples But LEAVE me the birds and the bees Please! Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you've got ‘Til its gone They paved paradise And put up a parking lot

Late last night I heard the screen door slam And a big yellow taxi Come and took away my old man Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you've got ‘Til it's gone They paved paradise And put up a parking lot

I said Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you've got ‘Til it's gone They paved paradise And put up a parking lot

They paved paradise And put up a parking lot They paved paradise And put up a parking lot

YIKES!!!

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 10, 2010 @ 1:07 p.m.

In the mid ’80s, looking to redevelop and reinvigorate the park and the area, city officials decided to issue nearly $6 million in rent credits on the land. The rent credits attracted new owners. Renovations were made to the park, and a lifeguard tower and restroom facilities were built.

I lived on Ensenada Ct, the first court south of Belmot Park in 1988, that is when the developer-AGANST COMMUNITY SUPPORT- broke ground on a deal to make the so called "Park" into a shopping center.

And it has-as expected-been a major flop. They only get business during the summer months-or 25% of the year. A shopping center at the beach does not make sense, didn't in 1988 and it doesn't today.

The bathrooms were NOT redone, nor the lifeguard tower, in 1988 like they were supposed to be redone (like the article states), it took 12 years and was paid for by the City, not the original developer.

They cannot make BP residential, it is not zoned for it and the community will not let the City sell off prime beach front land the entire community has a right to- in order to make a selected and connected few rich.

They should let the bank foreclose, but it out of foreclosure and tear down the shops, leave the plunge. Make it back into what it once was.

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nostalgic Nov. 10, 2010 @ 8:05 p.m.

The city is selling property as fast as it can. Rezoning is a decision made by the city. I see condos, with maybe the swimming pool providing underwater parking, for those who insist on having an automobile and a place to put it.

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 10, 2010 @ 8:44 p.m.

The city is selling property as fast as it can. Rezoning is a decision made by the city.

The city cannot rezone coastal property without the approval of the coastal commission, and that is not going to happen. Besides, I don't even know if the city has title to the property-it may be owned by the state. Not sure though.

If you have never heard any stories about the coastal commission, then you are in for some serious entertainment.

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Joan Fitzsimons Nov. 11, 2010 @ 10:16 a.m.

A 700% rent increase? What a joke in a flailing local economy and nation-wide depression.

I'm glad this was posted because I would not have seen such an article in the local press. More importantly, the beach community must be informed to fight for the survival of Belmont Park and the economic well being of their community.

The REA's action reveals the absurd measures our cash-strapped city will pursue without considering the long-term financial consequences. Any amount of rent is better than none at all (i.e., vacant buildings = blight).

Makes me wonder how many other City leaseholds have received outrageous rent increase notices.

Please provide updates on this.

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VinnyPaesano Nov. 11, 2010 @ 12:46 p.m.

Maybe if the owners of WaveHouse (and pretty much Bellmont Park) hadn't blown all their money pushing to pass the beach alcohol ban, they'd still have some folding money and be able to afford their rent. They spent literally tens of thousands of dollars trying to get the ban passed so that their clientele would need to go to them for an overpriced Tecate on a pseudo-beach. Good riddance.

Please don't tell me they did it from the goodness of their hearts, and that they wanted to clean up the beach. There's more trash picked up at the beaches than ever before, and they continued drunkening beachgoers well after the ban went into effect, but from then on it was through their dispensary.

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 11, 2010 @ 2:04 p.m.

I'm glad this was posted because I would not have seen such an article in the local press. More importantly, the beach community must be informed to fight for the survival of Belmont Park and the economic well being of their community.

===================== Are you serious?? The beach community NEVER wanted a SHOPPING CENTER at the beach, never, ever.

I too will be very happy when these clowns lose their shirts-that is the karma they get.

Ask former SD clowncilman Mike Gotch how that worked out for him when he stabbed his own district in the back (I think Gotch died a few years back though-don't recall because he was run out of town to Napa).

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a2zresource Nov. 11, 2010 @ 10:30 p.m.

RE "The city cannot rezone coastal property without the approval of the coastal commission, and that is not going to happen. Besides, I don't even know if the city has title to the property-it may be owned by the state":

I wonder how hard it might be for Nathan Fletcher to ram a coastal constitutional amendment through during next year's budget negotiations?

He's had some experience in backroom sausage-making already...

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 12, 2010 @ 7:47 a.m.

did you live on the beach side or the bay side of Mission blvd?

I lived on the beach side, one house in from the boardwalk. Beach, Boardwalk, Alley, my house.

As for Santa Cruz, I do not recall their management team running the Giant Dipper. I think the restoration was done through private funding raised by locals-I know the developer did not fund the restoration-which was mainly refurbishing some of the wood and a total paint job-and the paint-WOW, it turned out beautiful.

I grew up in the Bay Area and know the Santa Cruz coaster very well, I think the Giant dipper is just as good. Both are the only roller coasters on the beach front in CA-although Santa Cruse tries to claim they are the ONLY one with a beach front coaster.

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 12, 2010 @ 7:57 a.m.

I don't know about getting run out of town over it, though I guess that depends on your definition.

Mike Gotch was despised at Mission Beach, his home turf, and I mean he was HATED. He owned a house on one of the courts between Belmont Park and PB Drive, about midway, forgot which court he was on. But he had to go. His brother moved into his house-and I know that because he brother shopped at Trader Joe's in PB when I worked there in the late 80's and I asked where Mike was run off to................!!!!! If you were a local you had some serious hate for the guy, b/c no one wanted a shopping center at the beach-and we were ALL RIGHT. That thing is a white elephant, it has been a complete bomb. I am trying to think of just ONE busienss that has been open more than 5 years there and I can only think that MAYBE the arcade (if it is still open) has been. But there is not a single business that has been there, in full operation, since BP opened in 1988. The average restaurant-and there have been at least 8-10- lasts only 1-2 years then goes BK (think "The Hop", "Red Onion", "Chillers", "Canes"....the list is a mile long........)

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 12, 2010 @ 1:39 p.m.

BTW, I know it's not as big, and technically not on the sand, but there is a roller coaster Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier.

There is a ferris wheel there, but I have no knowledge of a roller coaster.

BTW 2, I wonder why Dorian forgot to mention that Belmont Park filed BK on 11-3.

Good!!! I hope the city scoops it up for pennies on the dollar and dumps all the shops (won't haqppen).

There was a lousy gym there when it opened, I assume that is gone now too (not the plunge). Fitness Advantage bought that gym in the mid 90's, don't know if Fitness Advantage is still out in Spring Valley or not.

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 12, 2010 @ 4:02 p.m.

Just because you don't have knowledge of someething, doesn't mean it isn't so. LOL Trust me, there's a roller coaster at Pacific park.

============= I never said there wasn't a coaster there-just that I had no knowledge of it!

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 12, 2010 @ 4:04 p.m.

Now I know WHY I had no knlowledge there was a coaster at PP-it is NEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Santa Cruz and Belmont Park both have their coasters from back in the 30's, they are wooden, that coaster at PP is a modern high tech metal coaster. I would bet it has been there less than 15 years.

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 12, 2010 @ 7:16 p.m.

BTW, the other 2 coasters at Santa Cruz are metal coasters.

I have not been to Santa Cruz since the early 80's, and they had the main coaster and this little tiny metal coaster then-I forgot what they called the little one, but it was nothing like the main coaster, the Dipper.

Maybe they added a new one to go with the two older ones.....

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 12, 2010 @ 10:04 p.m.

Awesome videos!!!

Yes, that second video of the metal coaster is newer-was not there when I was hitting Santa Cruz. The little teeny tiny metal roller coaster I was speaking of was not really a roller coaster, I wish I could remember the name of it. It was more of a carnival type "ride". That new metal coaster is cool!!!

I love Santa Cruz. I could live there. I love Capitola Beach if he are familair with the area...beautiful and small home town feel to it.

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antigeekess Nov. 17, 2010 @ 4:03 p.m.

Just learned of the Belmont Park situation over this past weekend. Once it's razed to the ground, it 'could' be condos that go up, but the first thing that came to mind for me was an enormous luxury hotel...

...likely owned by Sheik Mohammed of Dubai, or some other foreign interest. :(

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