View of the entrance to Belmont Park with the Giant Dipper roller coaster in the background
|Location||Mission Bay, San Diego, California, United States|
|Opened||July 4, 1925|
Belmont Park is a historic oceanfront amusement park located in the Mission Bay area of San Diego, California. The park was developed by sugar magnate John D. Spreckels and opened on July 4, 1925 as the Mission Beach Amusement Center. In addition to providing recreation and amusement it also was intended as a way to help Spreckels sell land in Mission Beach. Located on the beach, it attracts millions of people each year.
The attractions and rides that remain from the original 1925 park include the Giant Dipper, a wooden roller coaster that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Another historic facility is The Plunge, an indoor swimming pool. The Plunge was originally a salt water pool; it now contains fresh water and features a "Whaling Wall" painting by artist Wyland titled Orcas off Point Loma. In 2013 the California Coastal Commission approved plans to remove a portion of the Wyland mural during planned renovations of The Plunge. The plunge has been closed since 2014 due to disrepair. Plans to demolish and rebuild the Plunge were approved in January 2016, with work to be completed in 2018.
In 2002, businessman/surfer Tom Lochtefeld bought the master lease for the property and started development of the Wave House.
In November 2012 Pacifica Enterprises LLC. acquired the park leasehold in a bankruptcy trustee sale. Pacifica Enterprises with Eat.Drink.Sleep assumed operations of the park and started a restoration and revitalization of the park. Eat.Drink.Sleep's team of Brett Miller, Steve Smith and Justin Lopez developed and led the opening of new restaurants, Cannonball, South Mission Draft, Belmonty's Burgers and Hot Dog on a Stick and a remodel of Wavehouse Beach Club.
In the early 1980s the San Diego City Council led by then-Councilman Mike Gotch called for proposals to redevelop Belmont Park and clean up the area, which had fallen into disrepair and developed a seedy reputation. The city received five redevelopment bids but eventually decided not to take action at that time. Later the matter was reopened and the City's Real Estate Development Department was authorized to contact architect Paul Thoryk and developer Graham MacHutchin regarding their proposal since it was the only development that restored the Plunge, the city's historic public swimming pool. On June 24, 1986 the City Council voted 6 to 1 to grant an exclusive right to negotiate a lease on the site with Thoryk & MacHutchin who by then were joined by a subsidiary of San Diego Gas & Electric as a partner in Belmont Park Associates. The parties negotiated a lease, plans were completed and approved, and construction began including the demolition and reconstruction of the exterior walls of the Plunge building which did not meet earthquake code requirements. The redeveloped Belmont Park and Plunge Building reopened in the summer of 1988.
On November 3, 2010, Wave House Belmont Park LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in US Bankruptcy Court (Bankruptcy Petition #: 10-19663-11) citing a 700% increase in rent owed to the City of San Diego as the reason. Tom Lochtefeld, Belmont Park Manager Member, alleges the city has breached its lease agreement. In 2011 Lochtefeld filed a $25 million lawsuit against the City of San Diego accusing the city of breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation for preventing him from completing a second major expansion of the park including adding a hotel. That suit was settled in November 2013 after Lochtefeld decided not to pursue the case against the city.
In addition to the iconic Giant Dipper, amusements include a Tilt-A-Whirl, a three-story drop tower (the "Vertical Plunge"), the Liberty Carousel, and the Wave House Athletic Club. The Wave House Bar and Grill overlooks the ocean and features two artificial waves. The larger wave is a FlowBarrel called "Bruticus Maximus" (or "bmax") and features an 8-foot barreling wave. The other wave is a smaller sheet wave known as a FlowRider. The Wave House occasionally hosts events including concerts and Flowriding competitions. Newer attractions for 2010 include a SkyRopes obstacle course, a Moser Gyro Loop dubbed "Control Freak" and a Chance UniCoaster dubbed "Octotron." The park's rides, including the Giant Dipper, are operated by the San Diego Coaster Company.
The park is typically open from 11am until 10pm or 11pm. Current attractions are as follows: