THE BEACH – City Council is considering changes to a lease agreement with a private beach club that could result in an increase of about $330,000 per year paid to Santa Monica.
When the Beach Club first leased sand from City Hall in 1990 they were paying about two cents per square foot annually. This time around, with City Council’s permission, they would be paying $5.50 per square foot.
Council will consider renewing expiring leases of two public beach parcels for the private club. The parcels total about 74,000 square feet of Santa Monica beach and can currently be accessed by members of the club, located at 201 Palisades Beach Road.
The 25-year agreement is set to expire early next year and city officials are recommending that council execute 10-year extensions on both properties.
They say that the beach plots, which are located north of the Annenberg Community Beach House, are not heavily used. There are no public parking lots north of the Beach House. There are neither public restrooms nor amenities near the Beach Club plots, city officials said.
“The closest pedestrian overpass is at Montana Avenue,” city officials said. “Vehicular and pedestrian access to this portion of the beach continues to be limited. The leased parcels are sand and form the seaward boundary of the club. “
The Beach Club uses the area for its recreational activities. It includes paddle tennis, volleyball, and kids play equipment.
“Since the parcels are located in a section of the beach that has no public parking or restroom facilities, public use of this area is expected to remain low,” city officials said. “Plans for new recreation facilities are focused on more easily accessible sections of north beach. These factors suggest that there has not been a material change in the need for public use of these parcels.”
The initial agreement with the Beach Club gave them the land for $1,500 annually for the first 10 years. Today, they pay $1.05 per square foot annually.
Numerous audits lead City Hall to believe they now deserve $5.50 per square foot. This boost would increase the annual rent by about $330,000, bringing it up to about $410,000.
“If the lease is not extended, there would, of course, be consequences and costs for the City and members of the community,” city officials said. “The City would lose rental income and might become embroiled in a legal dispute involving claims under the lease. The individual members of the Beach Club would still be able to use the property, in the same way that any other members of the public could use it, except that they could access it from the Club building. However, the Club would lose the private use of the beach parcels. Members of the public could use the sand portion but would not be able to enter the Club property.”