The Los Angeles County Small Craft Harbor Commission received an update by the county Department of Public Works regarding infrastructure projects in Marina del Rey and heard a status report for lease renegotiation regarding the minimum rent provision at its April 11 meeting in Marina del Rey.

In addition, the commission discussed the addition of a new agenda item and viewed a visual presentation by the Marina del Rey Historical Society.

The commissioners noted that the new agenda item, communication with the commissioners, has been added to provide an opportunity for the members to notify the public regarding any information received from the public, lessees, or other interested parties regarding business in Marina del Rey.

Commissioner Allyn Rifkin said he had met with Beverly Moore, executive director of the Marina del Rey Convention and Visitors Bureau, and a consultant team about Westside mobility and the need for visitor transportation in the Marina area. He said the discussion also included exploring the idea of a Ferris wheel in Marina del Rey such as the one being considered in Venice near the boardwalk.

Gary Jones, Beaches and Harbors Department deputy director, told the commissioners that at their Dec. 14 meeting, they had requested a status report on a lease amendment for the Del Rey Shores personal warehouses, and requested additional negotiation with the lessee to establish a floor for the minimum rent, as well as further analysis to determine if the proposed percentage rent rates were at fair market value.

Jones said that staff and the lessee met on March 15, and the lessee agreed that adjustments of the annual minimum rent, following the lessee’s required March 2012 adjustment, shall be at or higher than the current annual minimum rent.

The lessee did not agree to any increase to the proposed percentage rent rates, and further analysis by staff showed that the rates are comparable to existing market rates, he said.

Jones said the county hopes to receive maximum profits, but that the lessee could not be required to increase rental amounts. That subject would have to be negotiated the next time the lease is up for renewal, which would be in 2029.

The Marina del Rey Historical Society is governed by a board of directors headed by founders Greg Wenger, Willie Hjorth, and Debbie Talbot, who presented a visual history of the early days of Marina del Rey to the audience. The society was founded in 2007 to collect and preserve historical documents, artifacts, publications, photographs, data and information relating to the development of Marina del Rey and its future.

The collection is electronically filed and personal contributions can be scanned to the files with originals returned to the donor. Information, (310) 578-1001.

County Department of Public Works business relations representative Pamela Manning and civil engineer Brittany Barker additionally presented an update on Marina del Rey infrastructure projects.

The projects consist of four road projects, two water line projects, two watershed projects, two sewer projects and three other projects.

The road projects include: Admiralty Way Street Improvement Project (estimated construction start February 2013); Admiralty Way at Via Marina (estimated construction start March 2014); Admiralty Way Settlement Repair (estimated construction start June 2013); and the Fiji Way Bike Lane Project (estimated construction start July 2014).

Water line projects: phase II along Admiralty Way and portions of Fiji Way and Via Marina, began May 2011; and phase III along Via Marina and Fiji Way is estimated to begin in November 2013.

Watershed projects: Oxford Retention Basin, estimated construction start is January 2014; Parking Lots 5 and 7 parkway improvement, estimated construction start is March 2013.

Sewer projects: sewer odor control project that controls odors from a sewer force main outlet manhole at Admiralty Way has been completed; manhole lining project, phase III is estimated to start in September to install a seamless plastic coating inside 75 sewer manholes to reduce the potential of groundwater infiltration.

Other projects: seawall refurbishment project is estimated to start in June; a tide gate project to upgrade the existing tide gate facility began in February; the Boathouse project, which includes an Americans with Disabilities Act upgrade and seismic retrofit, is estimated to begin in June.

The projects and map can be viewed online, search “Marina del Rey infrastructure projects,” http://dpw.lacounty.gov.

Carol Baker, Beaches and Harbors spokeswoman, said pet adoptions will be operated by volunteers of the county Department of Animal Care and Control in participation with Beaches and Harbors. These events will be held on the second Saturday of every month from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Animals are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and will be spayed/neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and ready to go home. Information, (310) 523-9566, or http://marinadelrey.lacounty.gov.

During public comment, local residents Jon Nahhas and John Rizzo alleged that the county is making a gift of public funds to lessees, and presented the commission with a handout of a rent analysis for the Del Rey Shores project storage units.

Nahhas said they had asked a local real estate company to provide an estimated market price of square footage in Marina del Rey, which equated to $400-$800 per square foot.

Nahhas and Rizzo estimated the county’s rate of return at the highest market value of $800 per square foot in an incremental range from 0.5 percent to six percent, with a return value of approximately $15.6 million and the lowest market value of $400 per square foot in the same percentage range with a return at about $7.8 million.

The Nahhas/Rizzo handout showed the average annual rent paid by the lessee at $35,390, with an average annual gross sales by the lessee of $176,949.92, and construction cost of storage units of $200,000 (built in 1976).

Rizzo and Nahhas allege that the profit to the developer since 1997 has been $1,840,279, and with no operating costs on the storage units, the return of investment for the developer since 1997 is 820.14 percent, while Los Angeles County’s return on investment on the land’s market value is 0.23 to 0.45 percent.

The handout showed a monthly rent paid by the lessee from gross receipts for June 1997 ($1,923.86); June 2001 ($3,175.00), and July 2012 ($3,748.64), for an average rent paid of $2,949.17. Their information states that the monthly gross sales for rent by the lessee from gross receipts was for June 1997 ($9,619.28); June 2001 ($15,875), and July 2010 ($18,743.20), for average gross sales of $14,745.83.

Jones told the commission that these numbers don’t factor in any maintenance, labor and staff costs to the lessee.

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