Preserving the Wharf

Monterey's Old Fisherman's Wharf Kayakers outside of Fisherman's Wharf

Preservation of Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf is important to all of us. The Wharf is a treasure to this community and something we all care about. A strong economic future that maintains the current and unique charm of the Wharf is a primary goal. Much information including some misinformation has been distributed about the recent Wharf leases. We made this web page to provide the public with a resource that outlines the facts about Wharf leases. Thank you for addressing your concerns, for reading the facts, and for your love of Fisherman's Wharf!

Posted Nov. 3, 2016: Leasing Policies Memo from City Manager Mike McCarthy

Facts about Wharf leases

FACT 1 - The City’s new leases will NOT be limited to 10 years.

Leases can be 15 years, 20 years, or even longer depending on the cost of alterations a tenant commits to investing to improve the building. To date we have negotiated with three existing tenants and in every case the City has offered lease terms that exceed 10 years due to the improvements the tenants want to make to the premises.

FACT 2 - The City will continue to work closely with existing, performing Wharf I businesses that wish to remain on the Wharf.

The City Council does not want to create a 'new' Wharf that will lose its present charm and eclectic mix of restaurants and shops. The Council decided to first and foremost negotiate with our current tenants to try to enter new lease agreements with them. The City’s lease negotiator has exclusively negotiated with existing tenants. The Council appreciates the family-owned businesses and the unique brand and atmosphere they bring to our Wharf. We want them to continue to be successful operators. Under the Council’s guidelines, locally owned businesses will continue to have preference over those outside of Monterey County.

FACT 3 - The City leases are your leases.

The City negotiates on behalf of all of the residents of Monterey ensuring that we all get a fair deal. We seek nothing more or less than fair market rates. The City's Charter section 6.4, enacted by the voters in 1989, requires the City to receive fair market rent for its properties. The City views its leaseholders as partners. Many of the City’s leaseholders have a long history with the City, and have offered great benefits to the City by providing top rate attractions that our residents and tourists enjoy.

FACT 4 - Several ground leases from the 1970’s have expired.

The City owns the land under the Wharf I buildings. The tenants currently own the structures and pilings. It is common practice in commercial real estate for building improvements to transfer to the landlord upon lease expiration. Long term ground leases were negotiated with terms of 25 - 30 years to allow tenants sufficient time to pay off any loan they required to build the structures.

FACT 5 - The City encouraged public input in adopting the new guidelines.

The City held several public meetings between August 2014 and July 2015. The Council received valuable feedback from many leaseholders, residents and outside experts.

City Manager's Office
Phone: (831) 646-3760
Suggest Voicemail: (831)  646-3799

580 Pacific Street
Monterey, CA 93940

The attached resolutions provide leasing guidelines.

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