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New ownership looks for community input on Belmont Park improvements

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The new owners of Belmont Park in Mission Beach have started meeting with residents, planning groups and associations to get a sense of what the community would like to see at the entertainment center.

The park was acquired approximately four months ago in a trustee sale by Rancho Santa Fe-based Symphony Asset Pool XVI, which is managed by Pacifica Enterprises. Pacific Beach-based hospitality management company Eat.Drink.Sleep is now managing the property.

Over the last few weeks, Eat.Drink.Sleep met with the Pacific Beach Town Council and the Mission Beach Precise Planning Board and explained to them its plan to renovate Belmont Park.

“We want to put together a small group (of community leaders) to sit on a design meeting so we don’t go down a road too far without support of the community,” said Brett Miller, CEO of Eat.Drink.Sleep.

Miller said the plan is to renovate existing structures and common areas with tenant improvement work while preserving historic elements of Belmont Park, like the roller coaster, so that it is more appealing to locals and tourists. He also said the plan is to add new amusement rides.

“We are taking what we have and making Belmont Park better,” Miller said. “We are just trying to get it in better condition and manage it correctly.”

Miller added that the group would like to add locally owned restaurants, retail and commercial storefronts, such as a coffee shop and hair salon, and possibly an upscale market.

“We are looking for retailers that integrate well with locals,” Miller said. “I wouldn’t call it a strip mall. We want Belmont Park to be more of an entertainment location for children to young adults, to the young at heart.”

Eat.Drink.Sleep and Pacifica intend to have a master plan, including artist renderings, for what Belmont Park will look by March 31.

“We want to start renovations by October, so that we can reopen for Belmont Park’s 100th anniversary in March 2014,” Miller said. Currently, cleanup efforts are going on at Belmont Park.

Improvements to the park are estimated at $12 million. This includes changes to the Wave House and Sound Wave restaurant.

Miller said improvements to the park would need approval from the city.

He added that his group and Pacifica got serious about taking over Belmont Park last March, when the property was in receivership.

“In San Diego there are few properties that have the visibility Belmont Park does,” he said.

Miller said numerous engineers, architects and contractors have been brought on to perform design work, including Graham Downes Architecture and Molinar Construction, which has been hired to handle the tenant improvement work.

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