On November 19, about two dozen people came to the port of San Diego's meeting for businesses interested in bidding on the Imperial Beach Pier restaurant space now held by Tin Fish.
"Imperial Beach's motto is a classic Southern California beach town, and we're looking for someone to work around that idea," said port senior asset manager Adam Meyer.
The 1558-square-foot space opens up in April 2016 and the lease is for five years — proposals are due December 15th.
Tin Fish has been in the space for at least ten years, owner Jay Kim said. He said he wasn't sure if he was going to bid on the restaurant space again or not.
The port's deal with Tin Fish was based on a percentage of the revenues and the next lease will be negotiated similarly, according to port spokeswoman Tanya Castaneda. Tin Fish's deal had a minimum payment of $40,000 a year in rent, and the restaurant has settled up with between $34,000 and $36,300 for the past three years, she said.
Whoever lands the lease will probably have to stay within the silhouette of the old building — or risk triggering an environmental review process, Meyer said. And the winner will have the port's support for a full liquor license and a food cart on the pier much closer to shore.
The meeting, held at the Dempsey Holder Center, included a tour of the Tin Fish — including the food-preparation area, with its skinny doorways and a multitude of stainless steel sinks.
Prospective bidders climbed a steep staircase to a second-floor storage area and walked around the building. There's space for more outdoor tables and changing the building so there's more glass for customers to be able to enjoy the views without being whipped by the weather.
"There is always going to be fishing on this pier," Meyer said. "We want to understand how you're going to interrelate with fishing on the pier."
Who came for the meeting and tour? Besides Tin Fish, Coronado Brewing; a commercial real estate broker who plans to pitch the project to several clients; Steve Brown from Gardner Junction, a Hollywood restaurant owner; and several local residents.
That's not the entire line-up of interested parties, Castaneda noted. The application for the spot has been downloaded 22 times since it was posted a couple weeks ago. The Brigantine Inc., which recently won Anthony's spot on the Embarcadero, and Cohn Restaurant Group have also looked at the request for proposal on the port's website.