Roller coaster ride for businesses at Belmont Park - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Roller coaster ride for businesses at Belmont Park

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MISSION BEACH (CBS 8) - The fate of a Mission Beach landmark may be up in the air. Belmont Park is on a land lease from the City of San Diego, and now the city is calling on a major leaseholder to pay more, but he says he can't.

Belmont Park managing member Tom Lochtefeld is hoping to work out a deal with the city to keep the Wavehouse, the historic plunge pool and various shops open.

"If we can't resolve this, all these buildings you see here, those are going to come down," he said.

Lochtefeld filed for bankruptcy after the city raised his rent nearly 700 percent for the next year. The city declared him in default because he didn't pay the increase.

"I've been trying to talk to them for a couple of years, but unless there's some crisis, they don't want to react," Lochtefeld said.

More than 2,800 people have signed an online petition supporting Lochtefeld's position.

"I think we really can put it all back together, it's just getting the real estate people down at the city to understand what we've got here is what it can pay," he said.

There is a silver lining for the financial cloud hanging over Belmont Park. The Giant Dipper roller coaster is on a separate city lease and is not affected by the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

"The roller coaster is totally safe, it's an historic landmark. The people of San Diego saved this thing a long time ago. I think it's great that (Lochtefeld) has been able to get some things to happen for him and I wish him the best of luck, but I do want everybody to know the attractions at the park -- the roller coaster and the rides -- their leases are safe no matter what happens with Tom, but we do wish Tom all the best," Wendy Crain of the San Diego Coaster Company said.

News 8 left a message with the city department of real estate assets to speak about this story, but no one called us back.

Belmont Park draws more than 4 million visitors per year.

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