NEWPORT BEACH : Decision on Lease for Club Postponed

The City Council Monday postponed a decision on a new 50-year lease for the Balboa Bay Club, a key element to the club's proposal for renovating its grounds because club president Tom Deemer was ill and could not attend the meeting.

Officials of the exclusive private club on the harbor say they need a long-term lease in order to obtain loans for the $60-million renovation.

"A 50-year lease is the minimum necessary to get financing," Deemer said earlier this month. "Most banks require 75 years to 99 years. The lease is key to redeveloping the property."

Deemer said renovation plans are in a tentative stage, limited so far to architectural drawings, scale models and general conceptions. Still to be determined is how state restrictions on tidelands will affect the club. The restrictions would require more public access to the bay front and prohibit certain uses.

The club entered its first 50-year lease with the city in 1948, when the club was little more than a stretch of mud flats. The council approved a new lease in May, 1986 that increased the rent and added 12 years to the original 50. The club will generate roughly $1.5 million a year in revenue for the city over the next 10 years.

A vote on the new lease was postponed indefinitely.

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