Watchdog: Antioch looking for new operator for Humphrey’s on the Delta restaurant

Watchdog-LogoBy Barbara Zivica

The City of Antioch is currently seeking bids for lease of a city owned restaurant space at One Marina Plaza, formerly home of Humphrey’s on the Delta restaurant. Bids from experienced and well financed restaurateurs, sufficiently capitalized to fund a complete makeover of the premises, are due by August 19th.

Back in the mid-1980s the city obtained $6.3M in loans from the state’s Dept. of Boating and Waterways to develop and construct a 285 berth marina. The marina, with an accompanying privately owned restaurant and public fishing pier (half of which was paid for by a state grant of $54,000) and four commercial lease spaces was expected to reach a break even cash flow within five years. Didn’t happen.

What did occur, however, was that past city councils made a number of unwise decisions e.g. deferral of state loan payments for the marina both during construction and during the first few years of operation. When the city finally decided to start repaying the state loans around 1990 it was discovered that payment was $234,000 more annually than had been budgeted and capitalized interest brought the loan to approximately $7.3M. The City has been playing catch up every since.

The City sunk more than $1 million in parking, decking and piling along the waterfront to support Humphrey’s, whose original owner signed a 35-year lease requiring he pay the city $2,500 a month or 2% of gross, whichever was greater, and receive a rent increase every five years, based on the rate of inflation in the preceeding four years.

Humphrey’s was purchased in 1995 by Eva and Gilbert Romero who sold it in 2009, taking it back in 2012 when the purchaser defaulted. Subsequently the Romeros, too defaulted on their loan for Humphreys and filed bankruptcy in 2012. The restaurant remained vacant pending a decision by Wells Fargo, holder of Romero’s loan, as to taking ownership of the property or turning it over to the city. The bank note was purchased by Antioch resident John Majidi, in 2013. But, he has yet to do anything with the restaurant.

Apparently the City of Antioch is, once again in charge. Good luck this time around.

2 Comments to “Watchdog: Antioch looking for new operator for Humphrey’s on the Delta restaurant”

  1. karl dietzel says:

    thanks, great write up.

    at least the city is being active to do something with that property.

    this is one of the best spots we have in antioch, and it’s falling apart.
    maybe that restaurant could be divided into 2 or 3 different restaurants?
    a bait shop is needed, barbeque and sitting areas outside at the launch area, a boat wash down is missing, the rest rooms are missing.
    and while were at it…take those don’t do this, and don’t do that signs down. why are we spending our needed dollars on signs.

  2. Loretta Sweatt says:

    I was hoping for a Spenger’s Seafood, similar to the one in Emeryville, but guess that wasn’t looked into or able to happen. If the next owner doesn’t do well, they won’t last either, no matter what the terms of the lease are. It’s business.

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