SP Airport Association acquires Logsdon’s, issues RFP for operator
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: July 26, 2013
The Santa Paula Airport Association (SPAA) has gone into the restaurant business, or rather is hoping someone will after they purchased the former Logsdon’s at the Airport.
The restaurant, which opened at the airport in 1991, closed in February after a renewed Logsdon family effort to operate the popular eatery after an earlier sale fell through. The SPAA acquired the 8,000 square foot restaurant in June from the bank for about $150,000, according to an airport source who asked to remain anonymous.
At the time the restaurant was built the owners entered into a long-term ground lease agreement with the airport association. According to Rowena Mason, president of the SPAA, a Request for Proposal is being circulated for those interested in opening a restaurant in the building, which could include a split off of space for other uses.
Although the SPAA also wants more revenue for the ground lease, having a destination restaurant at the famed airport is the top priority. Said Mason, “The ground lease agreement was not good financially for the airport and we saw an opportunity to increase our income potential, so basically we were buying our lease back. And it’s definitely not optimum not to have a restaurant here, so it’s important to get it in the airport’s control to manage it in the future.”
Mason said the saga of the restaurant saddens all, but “I like to think of what happened as with the flood” of 2005 that destroyed a large portion of the airport’s lone runway and caused its closure until repairs were completed. “It was a disaster,” said Mason, “but the airport came out better and stronger for it.” And the change in ownership “also opens up all sorts of opportunity for change,” ideas sought by the RFP.
“It’s a huge space” that Mason said might have put off restaurant operators in the past with its bar, patio, banquet room and separate café with its own entrance. “Having such a huge space is expensive to maintain and problematic to fill... if people have an idea for use of a portion of it,” or just want to lease part of the building, they should submit their ideas.
“Ideally,” Mason said the SPAA board “would like someone to come in and rehab the building, that would be ideal instead of using it as is,” which includes the restaurant’s limited inventory of kitchen equipment. “It would just depend on what a person’s vision is, they could come in and operate it the way it is.”
Considering the location and the history, “We would like someone to open a restaurant that focuses more on the airport side... it’s like having a freeway outside your door and if people market it” the restaurant will again be a destination for pilots and aviation lovers as well as residents of Ventura County. “It’s such a unique space, you can watch the airplanes right out the window” or from the patio area, an attraction not common to airport restaurants.
The RFP notes, “Patrons will be exposed to the many vintage and modern aircraft based at the airport and can tour our airport facilities on the First Sunday of each month during our whole-airport open house. This is a celebration of aviation, our history, and the gorgeous flying machines which cannot be seen just anywhere.”
“Nowhere else,” reads the RFP, “can you experience aviation in such an up close and personal way. Santa Paula Airport is truly a precious and well preserved piece of the golden age of aviation, where folks young and old can have a close look at vintage and modern aircraft and talk with their owners without the barriers found at larger fields.”
Mason said the SPAA is advertising the availability of the building and the RFP in publications that appeal to restaurant operators as well as to aviators. “It has so much potential to be a destination again,” said Mason, “and we are hoping it will be.”
For more information contact Mason at 805-933-1155, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain a copy of the RFP and schedule a tour of the building.