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Business OpportunitiesWaterfront




Proposal Deadline: 3:00 PM, Monday, August 09, 2021.
Late submittals will not be accepted, no exceptions.


The City of Santa Barbara’s Waterfront Department is seeking persons and business entities that are interested in leasing the space at 301 West Cabrillo Boulevard in the Harbor Launch Ramp Area. For the past 25 years, the location has served as the focal point of ocean adventures on the Central Coast offering multiple large-scale dive boats, whale watching, charter services, Jet Ski, Sea-Doo and SUP rentals, and a daily sport fishing vessel, all currently under separate subleases through the master tenant.  Ocean adventure opportunities to be housed at 301 West Cabrillo Boulevard are numerous.  A master lessee would be responsible for managing and improving services and offerings at the current site to be commensurate with the success of the Santa Barbara Waterfront and Harbor.

The site consists of approximately 2,200 square feet of land area and 0.48 acre of water area.  The site includes dock space for up to 5 (five) vessels and a store/office area of approximately 200 square feet.  (Attachment 1 Site Photos).  The site is adjacent to the Harbor Launch Ramp Public Parking Lot which contains 181 parking spaces. 

Additionally, 301 West Cabrillo Blvd. functions as the tender dock for cruise ships, estimated at 30+ visits (approximately 100,000 passengers) in Fiscal Year 2022 and an estimated 29 visits in Fiscal Year 2023.  This service requires a written and approved security plan for Homeland security, overhead awning, fencing, tents and landside security for said visits and docking for their tenders. Please note that the future/frequency of cruise ship visits to Santa Barbara will be discussed by City Council in the fall of 2021.

The space at 301 West Cabrillo Boulevard can be used for a multitude of ocean-related uses including whale watching, sport fishing charters, kayak/standup paddleboard (SUP) rentals, etc.  Leasing guidelines described in the Coastal Land Use Plan (LUP) provide that leasing priority be applied as follows: 1st Priority:  ocean-dependent business, 2nd Priority: ocean-related business, and 3rd Priority:  visitor-serving business. Site is zoned Harbor Commercial (HC) and land use is regulated by the City Zoning Ordinance, Title 28 (see Chapter 28.70 HC – Harbor Commercial Zone)

The Santa Barbara Harbor (Harbor) is the only sheltered harbor between the Port of San Luis, 100 miles to the north, and Ventura Harbor, 27 miles to the southeast. The Harbor has approximately 1,140 boat slips. Existing businesses in the Harbor Commercial Area include a fish market, a boatyard, boat charter operators (fishing, diving, whale watching, etc.), convenience stores, a dive shop, fuel dock, marine equipment suppliers, a maritime museum, marine-related offices, seven restaurant/food service establishments, yacht brokers and the Santa Barbara Yacht Club. 



 All proposals must include at a minimum, the information described in the following section. The inclusion of any additional information that will assist in the evaluation is encouraged. Failure to submit a complete package will result in the rejection and elimination of the proposal for consideration.

Business Plan:  Provide a professional business plan that includes, among other items, the information listed below. The topic areas listed below are only a guide.  
1. Executive Summary:  Please provide an executive summary of the overall Business Plan.
2. Company Description: A company description that includes key information about your business, goals, and the target customers that you want to serve. Is this a new business venture or an established business? Indicate business entity, for example: Sole Proprietor, Partnership, Corporation, etc.
3. Market Analysis: Please describe your understanding of the nature (“ins and outs”) of the industry as well as your experience in the industry. Identify target market/customers, their buying habits and which services they want or need, etc. 
4. Competitive Analysis: How is your business differentiated from other similar businesses? What makes your company stand out from other competitors in the industry and what are the competitive advantages that will give your business the edge to succeed? Please describe why your proposal should be considered for the lease space and how it would benefit the Harbor/Waterfront community. 
5. Description of Management and Organization: Your business plan must also outline how your organization is set up. Introduce your team and summarize their skills and primary job responsibilities. If you have a Board, please include Board member names and a short bio on each member.
6. Marketing Plan: How do you intend to get your products and services in front of your target customers? Please detail your marketing plan.
7. Financial Projections: What are the financial goals and expectations that you’ve set based on market research? Please report your anticipated revenue for the first 12 months and your annual projected earnings for the second, third, fourth and fifth years of business.

Required Additional Information: If the information requested below is included in the Business Plan, please note where in the Business Plan it can be found.

1. Please describe how the proposed business would provide a direct financial benefit to the Waterfront Department.  
2. Indicate the preferred lease term. 
3. Please indicate if the applicant is involved in any litigation or other legal disputes. Failure to list any and all litigation or other legal disputes will result in disqualification of the proposal. 
4. Please include a tentative plan for the space, including a sketch of key design elements. Provide a cost estimate and a timeline for any remodeling of the space. Please provide the proposed hours of operation and any seasonal variations.  
5. Please submit a certified financial statement indicating total net worth. These statements should correspond to the most recent full calendar or fiscal year.  
6. Please provide a minimum of three credit references.
7. Please provide Credit Reports from Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. An additional credit check and/or background check may be required.
8. Submit any other documents or reports that would assist in determining the financial condition of the applicant.

Any omissions, whether willful or not, will disqualify applicant from consideration.


Following the selection of a proposal, the Waterfront Department will negotiate a lease agreement with the selected party based on the following terms. The lease agreement will be subject to the review and approval of the Harbor Commission and the Santa Barbara City Council.

1. Proposed Term: Ten-year initial term with two (2), five-year options.

2. Proposed Minimum Monthly Rent: The minimum monthly Base Rent is proposed to be $11,000.00 per month. Rent will be subject to annual CPI adjustment, upward but not downward. 

3. Percentage Rent: Percentage rent will be applied to the overall monthly sales. Percentage rent includes ten percent (10%) of gross sales.

4. Required Personal Guarantee: The City’s standard personal guarantee will be required if the lease will be with a corporation or Limited Liability Company. 

5. Required Insurance: Property, business interruption insurance for one year and General Liability insurance at the City's standard limits of $2,000,000 will be required. Workers Compensation insurance and/or automobile insurance will be required.

6. Sublease: Sub-let of dock space to other operators must be pre-approved by Landlord. A copy of each sublease must be submitted to Landlord for approval.

7. Sub-tenants: Sub-tenants must supply monthly sales reports to Landlord by the 15th of each month and an annual sales reconciliation by the 1st of March each year. Sub-tenant must keep copies of their monthly bank statements, monthly sales reports, “z” tapes and tax records on-site and available for and are subject to revenue examinations by Landlord’s designated vendor.  

8. Cruise Ship Industry: Applicant must work with the Waterfront Department and cruise ship industry liaisons who coordinate visits with the Waterfront Department.  Tenant will have to provide security, fencing, and tents as required by appropriate regulatory agencies. Tenant must supply security plan for Homeland Security for visits.

Any omissions, whether willful or not, will disqualify proposal from consideration.


The City will provide the lease space “as-is”. All remodeling/improvements and signage require approval by the Waterfront Director and a building permit and design review/sign approval, if applicable. The tenant shall bear the costs of all design, review, planning, permitting and any other approval processes required for remodeling the space.


Evaluation Process and Criteria for Evaluation

Specific criteria have been established to assist the City in the evaluation of the proposals. The selection panel may use additional criteria that they deem to be significant in choosing the best proposal.

1. Business Plan / Description- 40 points (see above)

2. Management – 30 points
Company history  
Employee strength and experience in industry

3. Financial Information – 30 points
Strength of certified financial statement
Credit reports

The Waterfront Department will select the most responsive and most responsible proposer whose experience, and qualifications correspond best with the Local Coastal Program and the Waterfront Department's interests.  

Proposals will also be evaluated according to the proposed business’s compatibility with the existing businesses in the area. Proposals that complement or diversify existing uses in the area will be given priority over proposals that may compete with existing uses. 

Additional Information from Proposers
The Waterfront Department reserves the right to request information from proposers beyond that specified in the request for proposal.  Proposers may or may not be requested to appear before the selection committee.

Qualifications of Proposal
This is not a bid solicitation and the Waterfront Department is not obligated to accept any proposal or to negotiate with any proposer.  The Waterfront Department reserves the right to reject any or all proposals without cause or liability.  

Submission Requirements
Four hard copies of the proposal must be received at the City of Santa Barbara Waterfront Department (132-A Harbor Way) no later than 3:00 PM, Monday, August 9, 2021, regardless of postmark or date mailed.  In addition to the hardcopies, please submit the proposal via email no later than 3:00PM, Monday, August 9, 2021 to: 

Late submittals will not be accepted, no exceptions.

Proposals must be mailed or delivered to:

Waterfront Department, City of Santa Barbara
Attention:  Patrick Henry
132-A Harbor Way
Santa Barbara, CA   93109

Contact Person
Please contact Patrick Henry, Senior Property Management Specialist, at (805) 897-1961 with any questions regarding this Request for Proposal.

Materials Available for Review

1. A sample lease agreement is available here. It is the responsibility of the applicant to review the sample lease agreement, and understand the obligations to be assumed by the applicant through the lease agreement.

2. The Coastal Land Use Plan and related development policies can be found here.

3. The Santa Barbara Local Coastal Program also known as Coastal LUP can be found here.  The Coastal Land Use Plan (LUP) of Santa Barbara Local Coastal Program (LCP) was originally certified by the Coastal Commission in 1981.


All information received from proposers will be considered confidential during the review process.  When the selection committee completes the review, the committee will recommend selection or another action to the Harbor Commission and City Council. At that point, all information, except that information defined below as excluded, will be treated as public information and made available upon request for review to the other proposers and the public.

All excluded information which contains financial information such as assets, net worth, credit rating/credit report, and information from the selection process such as ratings sheets and other notes made during the evaluation process, will be treated as confidential information by the City and will not be made available for public review or to other proposing parties.


Site Photos
Sea Landing at Night
 Photo courtesy of Damian Gadal

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