Avalon plans to issue RFP for city’s Casino Fuel Dock facility

The city will issue a request for proposals from business parties to contract to operate the Casino Fuel Dock facility, which serves the approximate 20,000 transient boaters that visit Avalon Harbor annually.

AVALON—Avalon has moved forward with a plan to solicit requests for proposals (RFP) for a qualified party to contract to operate the city’s Casino Fuel Dock facility. The Fuel Dock site includes a fueling station for vessels, bathrooms, a picnic area and used to include a restaurant, the Casino Dock Café.

The Fuel Dock is currently under the city’s stewardship but operates at an approximate $200,000 loss annually, according to city staff. In a cost-savings effort, city staff conducted preliminary research to assess the viability of soliciting RFP for third parties to take over the operations. According to city staff, interest exists and they recommended the City Council approve soliciting RFP. The City Council approved the recommendation at their Sept. 15 meeting.

The RFP requires a year-round operation; a 10-year agreement with the City to provide services, with two, five year renewal options; payment of all applicable harbor use, waterside permit, mooring fees, sales and other taxes and fees to the city; payment of an annual administrative fee to the city to provide oversight and audit services; and insurance coverage consistent with the requirements outlined by PARSAC.

A tentative timeline provided in the staff report had the RFP open through 4 p.m. on Oct. 26. The RFP responses will be reviewed by city staff and presented to the City Council on Nov. 17, according to the tentative timeline. The contract term would begin on January 1, 2021. As of the time this paper went to press, a RFP had not yet been released on the city’s website.

City efforts to bring back a waterfront eatery have been afoot since 2015, when the dock and café were demolished due to safety issues exacerbated by a storm in December 2014. The property was renovated and enhanced using a grant from California’s Department Parks and Recreation, Division of Boating and Waterways. The grant agreement allows for the city to enter into a “concessions agreement,” with a third party. This agreement is not a lease and only a reasonable administrative fee can be charged.

City Manager/City Clerk Denise Radde said at the Sept. 15 meeting they will need to have a conversation with the Division of Boating and Waterways about their intent to have a restaurant at the site. “I have to contact Boating and Waterways just even for the RFP to go out for the fueling part of the facility, just to notify them that that’s what we’re doing and then to also have a conversation with them of our intent to have the restaurant back there,” Radde said at the Sept. 15 meeting.

Prior to the facility’s reopening in 2017, the city began negotiating terms with the Casino Dock Café operators, Russell and Jenny Armstrong, to reopen a restaurant. However, in late 2017 negotiations came to an impasse. Several City Council discussions and efforts to bring back a waterfront eatery on the dock followed but have remained unfruitful. Mayor Anni Marshall, at the Aug. 18 City Council meeting, repeated the desire to have a restaurant at the site. Visit cityofavalon.com/ for more information on the RFP or to respond.

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