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Pier Plaza to Proceed as Lessee Drops Fight

The city’s long-delayed Pier Plaza project can finally move forward now that a concession owner has called off a fight with the city over his lease.

Tom Lewis, a partner in TLC Co., said he has decided not to appeal a jury decision last week that Huntington Beach could evict his pier-area food and parking concession.

“I’m not going to fight anymore. I’m sick of it,” Lewis said Tuesday. “You get to the point where you’re throwing good money after bad.”

Lewis said his company signed a 10-year lease in 1980 with the state, not the city. But the state transferred the lease to the city, and it always contained a clause allowing termination with six months’ notice, said Ron Hagan, the city’s community services director.

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The City Council offered Lewis a $90,000 settlement before the trial, but he turned it down, saying his concession could have made $825,000 in the remaining three years of his contract.

“He could have been part of the project and had a long-term future,” Hagan said, “but he took the course of litigation.”

The Pier Plaza project was proposed in 1992 but stalled by a series of obstacles, with Lewis’ fight being the latest.

The $5-million project is aimed at creating a showplace entrance to the municipal pier. It is to include a restaurant, a mural depicting city history, access for the disabled, security lighting and an amphitheater.

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The city will close bidding March 10 and award a contract at the first council meeting in April, Hagan said. Construction will begin the first week in May and last a year.

On Wednesday, Judge Thomas J. Borris of the Municipal Court in Westminster signed the jury’s verdict and issued an eviction order. Lewis said he will have his equipment out by the weekend.

“I will never, never, ever enter into a contract with a government entity,” he said.


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