The Winston School first approached the City of Del Mar in June 2018 requesting changes to its 55-year lease for its school site at the Shores Park. That lease was signed with the City in 2010 and made retroactive to 2008. For the first time, in 2018, Winston contended the lease was unfair and requested a rent reduction from $197,245 per year to $1 per year; a doubling of the term from 55 to 99 years, and two additional 25-year extension options. The City and Winston engaged in discussions, off and on, to address these requests. The City expressed agreement to some Winston requests and offered suggestions or counterproposals as to others.
In the fall of 2019, Winston committed to secure an appraisal of the value of its leasehold and to share it with the City. Winston was sure the appraisal would back its claim that the rent was too high. The City agreed an appraisal was a good idea as an outside appraisal could bring objectivity to discussions about what the lease amount should be. Winston was to share the appraisal by the end of 2019. In exchange, the City agreed to a four-month extension of Winston’s December 2019 deadline to submit to the City “complete redevelopment plans” for its school site. This extension was to allow time for the appraisal to be prepared and reviewed.
In March 2020, Winston confirmed it had the appraisal, but in spite of its prior commitment to share the appraisal, was declining to share it with the City. The reasonable inference is that the appraisal did not support Winston’s claim that the rent was too high. It is noted that the rent charged to Winston under its lease with the City had not changed in more than 12 years and remained as set by Del Mar Union School District. Winston also received rent credits towards future rent due for its contributions to the Shores property purchase, meaning Winston has not, and will not, pay any new money rent to the City until 2023. The City then gave notice June 2, 2020 that the negotiation period was concluded and that Winston’s new deadline for submitting a complete redevelopment application to the City is October 2, 2020. This new date reflects the agreed upon four-month extension from the point that either party notifies the other that the lease amendment discussion has concluded. The existing 55-year Winston lease running to 2063 remains in place, unchanged.
Attached is a detailed document prepared by Councilmembers Sherryl Parks and Dwight Worden, the two City Council liaisons related to the topic of The Winston School lease, correcting the record as to the history of the Shores property acquisition, the fundraising campaign, the involvement of Friends of the Park and The Winston School, and the negotiations leading to Winston’s 55-year lease. The reader is referred to that document for details.
Open the full City statement on The Winston School (PDF)