Pittsburg OKs lease for waterfront hotel, banquet room, restaurants
PITTSBURG — A boutique hotel, banquet room and two restaurants could one day grace Pittsburg’s waterfront, helping to revitalize an area that for many decades has been mostly dormant.
The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a lease agreement with Peter Nguyen of Global Resources Trading LLC for two city-owned vacant waterfront parcels on a one-acre parcel that has been vacant for years. One part of the land is a tidelands property the state granted to the city, with restrictions on its use, making the agreement the first of its kind in the city.
City leaders and others hope the Marina Boulevard project, which still needs to be approved, will help spur other development in the marina area.
“We’re very excited about this project,” said Pittsburg Chamber CEO Wolfgang Croskey, speaking for his friend and fellow businessman, Nguyen.
“If you go back 150 years in Pittsburg’s history, you’ll recall that it was fishermen immigrants coming to America to start a business and to grow and in a certain way … He (Nguyen) is basically your American dream. He came here to the United States with a fishing boat and he’s built his business and grown and raised his family and now wants to continue the investment here in Pittsburg.”
Nguyen has operated a bait shop there since 2018 and Fishermen’s Catch market and cafe since 2020 near the site where he plans to erect the hotel. Last year he entered into an exclusive negotiating agreement with the city for developing the parcels.
Based in Pittsburg, Global Resources is a premier wholesaler of seafood, selling to major chains such as Whole Foods. Before that, Nguyen owned and operated a commercial fishing vessel from 1985 to 1995 and the Hong Kong Restaurant in Union City from 1995 to 2001.
Nguyen proposes to build a three-story hotel with themed upscale two- or three-bedroom suites on the upper floor, with a 10,000-square-foot banquet hall on the second floor, and two restaurants along the waterfront on the San Joaquin River’s New York Slough in a spot referred to as the “berm.”
But before spending millions on the project in a property he doesn’t own, Nguyen asked the city to first secure a lease. As a tidelands property, the city is not allowed to sell it and must follow strict regulations in its leasing agreements, including that it be long-term.
“This is the first tidelands lease and project that’s taken place in Pittsburg and we want to make sure it’s a home run,” Croskey said.
Under the terms of the the lease agreement, the project would generate $34,000 annually, with the rent adjustments made to retain fair market value. After 2027, the city would also collect 3% of the business gross receipts and 1.5% of the food and beverage gross receipts for the remainder of the 49-year term.
City analyst Sara Bellafronte said the city could realize a minimum of $51,400 annually once it starts collecting a percentage of the business receipts.
The city would also benefit from hotel revenues in the form of a transient occupancy tax, the staff report noted.
“We feel that the mix (hotel, restaurant and banquet room) is going to allow the project to be successful and to be something that people will come to Pittsburg for,” Croskey said. “And now when they go to a show, there’s a place to stay down the street, when they go to a fishing tournament, there’s a place to stay. So we’re providing a very unique opportunity that will only be found in Pittsburg.”
Bellafronte added that city is not locking itself into a project with this lease, “so no party is stuck in a lease if there is no project.”
The analyst added that the proposed use of the property aligns with city’s general plan goals of creativing a pedestrian-friendly connection between the marina and the downtown area to the south and could help decrease blight in the area.
With little discussion, Councilman Jelani Killings motioned for approval.
“I know we’re seeing a lot of life come down to our downtown corridor and our marina and how we can re-envision and really capitalize on this asset, this jewel that we have in the community,” he said.