San Diego still pursuing SeaWorld for rent

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

After refusing for well over a year to pay nearly $10 million in back rent to the city of San Diego, SeaWorld hinted last month that it was nearing a decision to pay up by Dec. 31. The company has since indicated that it is not paying "at this time."

Read more from The Union-Tribune.

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janfrederick's avatar

Tough one. I know there were policies to protect renters who couldn't pay during the pandemic. I'm not sure if the rent was excused or just postponed. But why shift the burden to the owners? Or did the owners get to write off those loses and did they have their property taxes excused?

As far as this particular situation, it reeks of a political standoff. Someone has to lose face at some point. Looking like courts will eventually decide.

"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza
Jeff's avatar

The city is the owner. The article indicated the rent was deferred, not forgiven.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

Sea World is making an equitable argument. If there was something in the lease/law that got them out of paying the minimum rent, they would be arguing that. They had to shut down (like other businesses) but were limited in their ability to cut expenses in large part because they had animals to care for/rescue. Not sure they were necessarily unique in terms of a limited ability to reduce expenses though. And the longer it drags out (city will be patient), expect that Sea World's financials recover further (unless recession -- if there is one -- impacts them negatively) which makes their equitable argument less appealing.

The city has noticed that Seaworld had installed a lot of steel in the last few years, but not taking into consideration that those attractions had been ordered and paid for long before the pandemic forced shutdown.

City also noticed that of about 800 leases it has, only one is in default on lease payments.

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