Harbor leases signed for sport fishing companies

OCEANSIDE — Come Dec. 1, the iconic Helgren’s Sportfishing building will begin to see major renovations, and soon have a new ownership sign hung over its door.

City Council approved a 10-year lease agreement with Oceanside Sea Center for the 2,900-square-foot building, five dock spaces and a sales kiosk on Nov. 15.

The road to get to the final lease agreement was a bit bumpy. More than a year ago Oceanside Sea Center responded to a city request for proposals to lease the harbor village building and commercial dock spaces. The company was awarded the lease and exclusive rights to be the sole sport fishing company in August 2016.

After community outcry in support of long-standing Helgren’s Oceanside Sportfishing, which currently leases the building and docks, the city decided to remove the exclusivity clause and negotiate leases with both companies.

Over the course of negotiations sharing a building was discussed and rejected.

Talks moved to looking at separate buildings and dock spaces for the companies.

Both companies stated preference for building and dock space within the harbor village area that sees heavy foot traffic.

Helgren’s Oceanside Sportfishing’s 10-year lease agreement with the city includes a prime dock space, a harbor sales kiosk and a 330-square-foot office space within the Coast Guard building located outside of the harbor village.

Following City Council approval of the leases, Capt. Joseph Cacciola of Oceanside Sea Center said the company’s offer to give Helgren’s Oceanside Sport fishing the longest of the five dock spaces helped close negotiations.

Cacciola added 18 months of negotiations has left Oceanside Sea Center in the same solid spot it began when it was awarded the request for proposal, minus one significant dock space.

The harbor village office building and five of the six commercial dock spaces gives Oceanside Sea Center a dominant presence in the harbor.

“We were the best choice in the beginning and have prevailed,” Cacciola said. “We look forward to the future.”

Oceanside Sea Center will team with Pfleger Institute for Environmental Research to provide sport fishing, whale watching, commercial boat services, youth science programs and floating labs. The company will begin operations with three boats.

Cacciola said before Oceanside Sea Center opens its doors at its new business address, $65,000 in building upgrades will be completed. Improvements will include replacing windows and doors with energy efficient models, and adding LED lighting, security cameras and public art.

Ernest Prieto, a partner in Oceanside Sea Center, said building renovations and education programs will bring positive improvements to the harbor.

“We’re excited to make a change in the community,” Prieto said.

Oceanside Sea Center will lease the building and dock space for the greater of $3,000 a month, or 6 percent of its gross income, later to increase to 7 percent. The company will pay a minimum of $342,000 to the city over 10 years.

Helgren’s Oceanside Sportfishing lease terms are set at the greater of $2,000 a month, or 4 percent of its gross revenues, to increase to 5 percent and then 7 percent. The company will pay a minimum of $198,000 over 10 years.

Helgren’s last day of occupancy at its current business office within the harbor village is Nov. 30.

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