By Gary Walker

Amid plans for redevelopment, Los Angeles County is raising rents for already struggling tenants of aging Fisherman’s Village

Shops, restaurants, charter operations and other tenants of Fisherman’s Village begin the year paying a higher percentage of their returns to Los Angeles County, thanks to a vote of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors late last year.

In addition to monthly rent, tenancy leaseholders of Marina del Rey’s landmark waterfront mall — currently in negotiations for a new master lease expected to facilitate extensive redevelopment — must also pay a percentage of gross monthly sales to the county, according to property managers Pacific Coast Management.

Office space tenants saw the biggest bump, to as high as 12%. Bicycle rentals and dry stack storage facilities went up to 10%, commercial boating rates went from 4.5% to 6%, and retail stores now pay 4% instead of 1.5%.

“It’s really gonna hurt. “We’re struggling and I’m already getting squeezed,” Mark Sentryz of Marina del Rey Parasailing said of the increase.

Fisherman‘s Village reported $14,757,745 in gross revenue in 2017 and $15,415,906 in 2018, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors, but many see the aging property as falling short of the potential for such a prime waterfront location.

Private equity and development firm DJM Capital Partners, which currently manages Runway at Playa Vista, has been in negotiations with the county to take over Fisherman’s Village from the current leaseholder. As those talks continue, the county has raised annual minimum rent for any new lessee at Fisherman’s Village from $336,342 to $510,814.

Vince Rubio of Tiki Mermaid, a Fisherman’s Village yacht charter and boat rental service, converted his seasonal business to a year-round operation to keep revenue going in the face of the rent increase. Adding insult to injury, state officials have banned employees of businesses in Fisherman’s Village from parking in a now-vacant county lot on Fiji Way, which means they now have to pay to park in the mall’s main lot.

“Now we’re staying open 12 months a year,” Rubio said. “If we start losing customers, we might have to cut back on our staffing.”

Daniel Nofal of Daniel’s Bicycle Rentals said drawing customers to Fisherman’s Village has become more difficult in recent years, exacerbating rent increases for business owners.

“The problem is we just can’t seem to get any additional business into Fisherman‘s Village the way things are. For the 18 years that I’ve been here we just deal with it, do the best we can, and hope and pray the weather stays warm enough so people keep coming to Fisherman’s Village,” Nofal said.