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City's Big vacancy

The concession stand at Corona del Mar State Beach has been unoccupied for much of the past six years, but officials are again trying to attract vendors.

January 07, 2012|By Mike Reicher

He bid the first time the city opened after renovation, and was selected from a few operators, but lease negotiations fell through. City spokeswoman Tara Finnigan said the parties were unable to compromise on the terms of the lease.

Like Newport, other governments have had trouble signing tenants to fill their beachside concessions stands during the down economy, said Evelyn Tseng, the city's revenue manager.

"Nobody can command the same rents that they used to be able to command," she said.

Kilmer said he operated at Big Corona between 1970 and 2005, and started working there as a teenager picking up trash in 1959.

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In his last year of operations, Kilmer said he paid the city about $100,000 in rent.

That is apparently more than what that the city drew from Fuji and temporary concessions in the intervening six years combined, according to city records. The city makes the bulk of its revenue from parking at the beach. It collected nearly $1 million for parking during fiscal 2010.

After the city issued another concessions RFP in March, Kilmer was the only bid. The City Council voted to seek more applicants, and decided to hold off for another summer.

Instead, they brought in gourmet food trucks, such as Flavor Rush and Wahoo's Fish Taco.

Now five operators have applied, including a joint venture between Wahoo's and Zack's, a concessionaire in Huntington Beach that serves burgers and fries. The city hopes to reopen by Memorial Day.

mike.reicher@latimes.com

Twitter: @mreicher

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