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Castaway lease changes in works

September 17, 2005|By: Mark R. Madler

Changing a lease between the city and the operator of the Castaway

Restaurant drew a large crowd at Tuesday's City Council meeting who

wanted to voice concerns over traffic, noise and other issues related

to the popular hillside eatery.

The council delayed a vote on the amended lease with Specialty

Restaurant Corp. until Oct. 4 to allow staff members to make changes

the council wanted.

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"In the big picture, they are not major issues, but do impact your

business," Mayor Jef Vander Borght said to the restaurant operators.

"Our effort is to implement the lease agreement and allow you to move

forward."

The Castaway restaurant and banquet facilities -- with spectacular

views of the city and valley below -- are owned by Burbank although

the operator, Verdugo Restaurant Corp., is responsible for

maintenance and improvements.

Changes the council wanted made were language to guarantee free

valet parking, ample free self-parking, a security guard for events

that go until 1 a.m., and stopping alcohol sales at midnight for

weekend events in the banquet facilities, Assistant City Manager Mike

Flad said.

The amended lease would be for 20 years, a length that didn't sit

well with at least one resident.

"I think the term is too long," said Gene Walsh, a Walnut Avenue

resident. "I think a conventional lease term for a restaurant is 10

years with another 10 years as an extension."

A main reason the city wanted to re-negotiate the lease with

Specialty Restaurant Corp. was to change the rent structure put in

place when the lease was originally approved in 1962. It is set to

expire in 2012.

The operators currently pay an annual base rent of $14,400 or a

percentage rent of 2% of gross sales at the restaurant and 4% of

gross sales at the banquet facilities, whichever is higher.

The city currently receives between $200,000 and $300,000 from the

restaurant a year, Vander Borght said.

The proposed amended lease includes a base rent of $180,000 that

would be reviewed every five years; and a percentage rent of 5% of on

gross sales at the restaurant and 7% of gross sales at the banquet

facilities, whichever is higher.

The amended lease includes the company setting aside 2% of its

monthly gross revenues to be placed in a capital improvement reserve

fund to be used for major repairs.

Closing times were set at 10 p.m. weekdays and 11 p.m. weekends for the restaurant; 1 a.m. for the banquet hall; 11 p.m. weekdays and

12 p.m. weekends for the lounge and patio; and 9 p.m. weekdays and 11

p.m. weekends for the luau grove.

Greg Jackson, a Harvard Road resident, said that he found the

hours to be reasonable.

"I'm not totally pleased with the 1 a.m. operation of the banquet

facility but in the spirit of compromise that is something the

community has lived with in the past and will do so in the future,"

Jackson said.

QUESTION

Should the city amend terms with The Castaway restaurant? E-mail

your responses to o7burbankleader @latimes.comf7; mail them to the

Burbank Leader, 111 W. Wilson Ave., Glendale, CA 91203. Please spell

your name and include your address and phone number for verification

purposes only.

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