San Clemente has invested millions in restoring the historic Ole Hanson Beach Club and now city officials say they want to make sure the North Beach site has the best chance of succeeding.
City Council recently agreed to give 24 Carrots, LLC, a wedding and event planner and caterer, a break on its rent for revenue lost in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as a five-year extension. years of the lease.
That means the city will forgo about $75,000 for the months of April through August. The caterer pays a minimum of $15,000 per month as base rent and the city also collects 5% of gross food and beverage sales. Typically, this amounts to $180,000 per year in total collected rent.
The lease was to expire in a year.
The beach club has been closed to all events and is only open for swimming every day except Sunday.
“We try to be a good landlord like we hope private landlords help their businesses,” San Clemente Mayor Kathy Ward said. “We looked at what we would be doing a year from now when their lease comes to an end. Because they asked for a discount, we bundled everything into one thing.
24 Carrots expects revenue from weddings and banquets held at the beach club to bring in $144,000 between April and December, said Lynn Wagoner, representing the company. Instead, revenue hit $36,000 this year. She asked the city to waive all monthly bonds for April and 50% of all subsequent May rent until weddings can resume.
“We don’t have a lot of new bookings,” she said. “We’re basically moving most people from 2020 to 2021.”
North Beach, where the historic beach club was built in 1928 by San Clemente founder Ole Hanson, is an area currently undergoing extensive renovations, including the construction of a new bowling alley in the footprint of the old built in 1946 and a restoration of the Miramar theater, closed in 1992.
These two improvements along North El Camino Real — slated to open in December 2021 — are expected to create an entertainment and dining destination, similar to the Packing District in Anaheim, where people buy food at different locations and then tasted at public tables. Plans include 50 indoor restaurant seats and up to 150 seats in a landscaped outdoor dining area facing El Camino Real. The land will be fenced for added security.
The beach club renovation began with a $1.5 million building rehabilitation that morphed into a $5.6 million building and pool restoration that opened in 2016. facility was closed for a few years due to structural issues discovered once the project was underway – including contractors finding a second pool below the pool they were working on.
As part of an hour-long discussion ahead of the recent vote, Councilor Laura Ferguson suggested that the lease on 24 Carrots only be extended for a year and that local restaurateurs survey the city to see if there is has an interest in helping organize events at the beach club similar to what is currently being done at the Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens in San Clemente. 24 Carrots also offers event services there.
“They have six restaurants in total where people can choose from different types and costs of food,” Ferguson said. “The Ole Hansen Beach Club should be the same.”
Ferguson made his suggestion as a way to help local businesses now crippled by the coronavirus and recent restrictions on on-site dining services. She also said she posted a discussion on the subject on her Facebook page and received a lot of support.
“This is an out-of-town provider and people have no choice,” she said, introducing a motion suggesting other providers should be considered.
With the backing of new Councilman Steve Knoblock and Councilman Gene James to grant a one-year extension to 24 Cores and do an economic study with local restaurants, Ferguson seemed to have some momentum.
But in the end, the majority opted for the extension of the five-year lease.
“What are we really doing here? Why are we punishing a vendor who went through an extensive RFP,” Ward said. “The beach club makes the most money it has. I think we share the baby here.