Mission Beach’s Plunge Shuts Down


It's an end to a local historical attraction.

The Mission Beach Plunge is now closed as of Thursday.

The pool hall’s leaseholder filed for bankruptcy in November, seeking time to settle a rent dispute with the city. The dispute, combined with the structural failure of the building, impacted the decision to close the pool.

The pool’s rent increased to an annual $480,000 last year, but Leaseholder Tom Lochtefeld says he amended his lease in 2000 to ensure funding for repairs with continued rent credits. Iron bars in the building have experienced erosion due to the chlorine in the pool. He says the repairs will cost more than $100,000.

“I can’t do both – I can use the revenue that’s generated here to pay the city back, but I can’t pay the city and [also] fix The Plunge,” Lochtefeld says. “There’s insufficient revenue to do that.”

The 85-year old pool serves over 3,000 members, many of whom use the facilities for rehabilitation as well as recreation.

“I’ve had members tell me all the time that if it wasn’t for this place, they wouldn’t have made it as long as they have in their lives,” says General manager Tyler Nichols.

In response to The Plunge’s accusations of breaching Lochtefeld’s contract, Chief Operating Officer of the city Jay Goldstone says the contract was never breached.

“He doesn’t like that [rent increase]. He wants to renege on a deal he negotiated,” he said to the Union Tribune, referring to what Lochtefeld sited as an amendment to his lease that would extend rent credits long enough for him to make repairs.

The Mission Bay Town Council wrote a letter expressing their support of the pool in February, but the city did not agree to negotiate, says President of the town council Bob Ruane.

The facilities at The Plunge will remain open, despite the pool’s closure. A bankruptcy hearing is scheduled for June 9.

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