The El Segundo City Council voted tonight to not choose a single proposal – they’re moving forward with negotiations on 2 of the 9 – Topgolf and Drive Shack. (Scroll down for a summary of last night’s City Council meeting from Mayor Drew Boyles)
It was an emotional City Council meeting tonight with some residents such as Ron Swanson voted in favor of the Topgolf proposal – Swanson stated: “you have to respect the RFP process and that many of the opponents of the Topgolf proposal were representatives from the existing Lakes at El Segundo.”
Resident Bryan Lewis spoke next concurring with Mr. Swanson stating “we should respect the RFP process and not allow the Topgolf proposal as a result of it being submitted late as per the RFP rules.”
The Lakes at El Segundo Golf Instructor Josh Alpert, long-time golf instructor at The Lakes shared that “13,000 students go through The Lakes each year and that the Billy Casper proposal addressed most of the RFP requirements.” (Note: Josh Alpert is also a participating member of the Billy Casper proposal). See Josh’s heartfelt speech to the City Council:
Ryan Baldino, a member of The RFP Task Force, spoke and reminded everyone that the discussion around The Lakes (an Enterprise Fund) needs to be based on facts. Baldino emphasized the need for The Lakes to be able to operate successfully financially. Mr. Baldino was in favor of the Topgolf proposal and explained that the Billy Casper proposal wasn’t feasible financially based on “the premise of making an existing thing better.”
Boyles recommended that we look at the range separately and move forward with the top proposers for the range. With the flexibility to re-negotiate after the first term. 2nd that the rent term is equal to the 4% of revenue. and 3rd the vendors
Councilmember Chris Pimentel weighed in sharing concerns “about divorcing one component from the other – that we might not be able to get the best”
Boyles raised a stat 8% of Americans golf, Petit shared 35,000 total rounds per year at The Lakes. Using his estimates, roughly 255 El Segundo resident golfers use The Lakes and suggested that we separate the range from the course and encourage the top 2 or 3 bidders to come forward with their best and final offer.
Councilmember Scot Nicol agreed with Pimentel “the golf course had to stay in perpetuity” with both succeeding or failing together. Scot weighed in stating that one could make an argument that the Sanford proposal just might benefit the biggest audience. An argument was made by a few of the Councilmembers to “look at this holistically and not separate the assets.”
Mayor Pro Tem Pirsztuk agreed with Brann, Nicol, and Pimentel stating that we should look at this as a whole entity, disagreeing with Mayor Boyles’ suggestion to isolate the range from the proposals. Pirsztuk shared a concern with the golf course being able to make money moving forward.
Pirsztuk shared to move forward with the The Lakes RFP Task Force recommendations and respect their time. Pirsztuk recommended moving forward with the top 3 to get to further negotiations.
Councilmember Pimentel reminded that we are a City “where big ideas take off” and appreciated the Sanford proposal for an Amphitheater and thanked the Rec & Park’s staff and the RFP Task Force for their time.
Pimentel stated that we have to make changes to the golf course and that they’re looking for ways outside the residential corridor to raise money for the City but ultimately settled on moving forward with further negotiations on the top 2 or 3 chosen by The RFP Task Force.
Nicol shared a concern about going back to the top “few” proposals and asking them to negotiate a better offer. Boyles clarified by stating that the City would move forward as part of a due diligence to further understand the top proposals.
Nicol shared that 3 different bidders (Flying Tee, Billy Casper, and Topgolf) received a “1” rating. He stated that not one of the RFP Task Force members gave Drive Shack a “1” rating and that “Flying Tee” received a “9” vote that skewed their overall scoring. He suggested speaking to Billy Casper and Topgolf.
Boyles asked the Council if they could at least vote on the overall direction of The Lakes choosing a “type” of proposal from the 9 submitted. Pirsztuk and Boyles voted on a “tech” driving range offer and Pimentel and Nicol agreed with Brann being the only opposition.
Pimentel addressed negotiating terms with the chosen proposals to respect the junior programs and youth of El Segundo. Nicol echoed Pimentel’s concerns stating that youth programs must be negotiated as part of the chosen parties’ programming.
City Attorney Mark Hensley stated that the Council could move forward with negotiations related to rev-share could be discussed in a closed-session (stating that there would be an advantage to negotiating behind closed session).
Boyles asked Rec & Parks Director Petit if the Billy Casper proposal would include technology and shared “a few bays would eventually leverage technology.” The Council ultimately agreed that the Billy Casper proposal would not fit the “tech” definition of the Council and should NOT be considered.
Pirsztuk, Boyles, Pirsztuk, and Nicol, honoring the RFP Task Force, voted to move forward with the top two in the “tech” category (Topgolf & Drive Shack). Nicol recommended going back to the RFP Task Force (since they invested so much time) to ask if they could provide more details on why they chose what they chose.
Hats off to the The Lakes RFP Task Force for their due diligence, the El Segundo City Council for making tough decisions to keep us moving forward, and all the other companies who provided proposals – thank you for your interest in improving the quality of life for us all! It will be interesting to see how this progresses!
See a Full Summary of Last Night’s City Council Meeting from Mayor Drew Boyles below: