Lease given to Golden Gate Park's boathouse

February 2, 2011 5:50:33 PM PST
A popular boating spot in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park is about to begin a new era, according to the city's Recreation and Park Department.

Building upon the Recreation and Park Commission's December approval of a new lease for a new concessions vendor at Stow Lake, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to award the lease to Ortega Family Enterprises.

According to a statement from the parks department, the Ortega family has "a proven track record of turning around under-performing park concessions and maximizing their potential."

In hopes of rejuvenating the historic Stow Lake Boathouse, the 15-year lease awarded to the Ortega family stipulates that the concessionaire will invest $233,000 toward capital improvements to the "popular but deteriorating" boathouse, according to the parks department.

Among the slated improvements is the construction of a new indoor cafe area that will be built over the existing boat repair area, and the replacement of the aging existing fleet of boats at a cost of $152,000, according to the department.

In 2009, the Ortega family won the Marin Conservation Council's green business award for its renovation and operation of concessions at the historic Muir Woods National Monument.

Despite the new vendor, some boathouse favorites will remain intact, including the menu's pink popcorn. The Ortega family will also provide local and sustainable food options, with most items available for between $5 and $9.

The new lease, which will provide a minimum annual rent of $160,000 to the city, will begin in March with a potential five-year extension.

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