By Joe Tash
For about two years, the San Diego Polo Club has been waiting to find out from the city of San Diego whether its lease will be renewed for the 80-acre parcel of land it has occupied since 1986. In the next week or so, the club hopes to get an indication of the city’s plans.
The club’s original 26-year lease for the city-owned property expired in March, and even before that date, the club had been in contact with the city, seeking a new lease or an extension. In 2011, the city announced it would go out to bid for a new lessee, rather than negotiate exclusively with the polo club.
Alex Roth, a spokesman for the San Diego mayor’s office, said in December that the city expected to issue a request for proposals from prospective bidders in the spring of this year. However, that RFP was never issued. As of press-time for this newspaper, Roth had not responded to several inquiries seeking the status of the lease issue.
In August, Mel Millstein, an aide to San Diego First District Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, told attendees at a meeting of the Carmel Valley Community Planning Group that the RFP for the polo club property had been delayed as city officials seek to determine how a realignment project on El Camino Real will affect the parcel.
The polo club property is located at the corner of Via De La Valle and El Camino Real.
This week, polo club president Ron Bonaguidi said his group was notified by the city’s real estate department that it should get some information about the lease process by the end of this month.
“We’re hopeful, I’m attending church on a regular basis,” Bonaguidi said.
Since its lease expired in March, the club has occupied the property on a month-to-month basis, Bonaguidi said.
At the time its lease expired, the club was required to pay the city $9,842 per month for the use of the property.
In addition to the club’s own polo events, the property is subleased to other groups for such events as lacrosse and soccer tournaments. Because the club is on a month-to-month basis, Bonaguidi said, it has been unable to give a firm answer to the outside groups about the availability of the property for events scheduled early next year.
Bonaguidi said the El Camino realignment project will encroach on the polo club property, but engineers have not determined specifically how much property will be needed.