Visit Pensacola

Unclear future for California Yacht Club

Published on April 20th, 2022

As North America’s largest man-made small-craft harbor, Marina del Rey sits roughly six miles north of Los Angeles International Airport, offering a desirable coastal community with waterfront views, aquatic sports, and award-winning restaurants.

The harbor is also home to several yachting hubs, with California Yacht Club as the prominent racing host.

The club held the 2021 J/70 World Championship and 2022 ILCA Midwinters and will soon be welcoming the 2022 U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded and Doublehanded Championship. Each summer it hosts the harbor’s Wednesday keelboat series.

But unique in the scope of clubs, California Yacht Club is a for-profit business, and after the Hathaway family provided at least four generations of stable ownership, this cornerstone of yachting is a rocking boat.

The club was sold in late 2021 as part of a $1.7 billion deal which included self-storage firm LAACO and the downtown Los Angeles Athletic Club. While the downtown club has since been sold, the yacht club is getting shopped as well, and among the shoppers is billionaire Los Angeles developer and mayoral candidate Rick Caruso.

The yacht club’s lease, which carried a minimum annual rent last year of nearly $1.1 million, is set to expire July 31, potentially unmooring it from the property where it operates if it cannot obtain an extension.

Caruso’s development organization has been in talks with Los Angeles County officials to secure the soon-to-expire lease, and as he already holds parcels on either side of the club, the highly coveted corner of the harbor could be the site of another one of his mega-projects.

While the developer, whose net worth is estimated at $4.3 billion by Forbes, isn’t revealing his intentions, he does do boating with his 100 million 65m yacht Invictus.

The California Yacht Club was founded in 1922 and moved to its present site in 1967, offering one of the finest boat anchorages along with elite services for junior and adult membership.

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