$18M in Upgrades Coming to Belmont Park, Plunge Pool

The company will be revamping the long-closed Plunge Pool under its new lease with the city

Mission Beach’s Belmont Park will soon see $18 million in improvements, according to the new lease approved by the San Diego City Council Monday.

The council voted 7-2 to allow Symphony Asset Pool XVI, LLC to amend its lease, which expires on June 30, 2038.

Among the upgrades is a $5.9 million plan to fix the Plunge pool. The indoor, city-owned pool at the Wavehouse Athletic Club has been closed for years — part of San Diego’s multibillion dollar deferred maintenance backlog, according to City Councilwoman Lorie Zapf.

Symphony will be in charge of all pool repairs and maintenance moving forward.

Under the amended lease, the company has an option to extend its lease to 40 years if it completes the $18 million in capital improvements within three years.

If that extension happens, Symphony’s lease on the 7.2-acre prime piece of beachfront property will jump to at least $1.1 million a year.

However, it will get rent credit from the city for the repairs made to the Plunge pool.

In a news release, Zapf said Symphony took over Belmont Park a few years ago after the previous company went bankrupt.

"Their investment has had a positive ripple effect on the entire Mission Beach neighborhood," the city councilwoman said. "There are more customers visiting nearby businesses, crime is down significantly, and with this new agreement, the historic Plunge pool will open far sooner than had been possible if the City was funding repairs." 

But attorney Cory Briggs claims the council's approval Monday violates the city's charter because residents were not notified about a public hearing on the matter. The charter states no contract or agreement for more than five years can be valid unless two-thirds of the council approves it after a public hearing.

Briggs also says Symphony should have gotten a California Coastal Act development permit before it planned beach concessions on the property. The lease also violates the California Environmental Quality Act, the attorney asserts.

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