ANTIOCH -- The city is hoping to reel in a new restaurateur for waterfront property it owns.

Antioch released a proposal request last week for someone with experience to lease and renovate the former Humphrey's on the Delta restaurant at One Marina Plaza.

"It's a waterfront location that's difficult, if not impossible to re-create," said Brian Nunnally, Antioch's economic development program manager. "We're hoping to find someone that can restore it to the glory that it should have."

The city mailed out 150 requests to prospective Bay Area restaurant owners and several national groups to solicit interest, Nunnally said. Bids for the project are due by 2 p.m. Aug. 19, with a walk-through and question-and-answer session scheduled for Aug. 7.

In its sales pitch, the city points out the 12,432-square-foot building is adjacent to Antioch's 310-berth marina and boat launch ramp, and a few blocks from its historic downtown. The eastern Contra Costa area has about a quarter-million people in the trade area, according to the proposal.

"We're hoping to bring a dining experience that hasn't existed in some time and bring in people from throughout East County and further," Nunnally said.

Named after the wayward whale who found his way into the Delta in 1985, Humphrey's was built in 1987 and opened in 1990. It was last owned by Gilbert and Eva Romero, who closed it in December 2012. All of their claims on the vacated property were settled on Feb. 13, which terminated the lease.


Advertisement

The restaurant is built on Antioch-owned marina land and pilings on the San Joaquin River. The interior includes a large kitchen area, custom woodwork, a large bar area and a separate banquet room.

Antioch has also taken legal action to affirm it owns the building.

A hearing is scheduled in Contra Costa Superior Court next Monday.

City Attorney Lynn Tracy Nerland said she is "cautiously optimistic" the court will rule in the city's favor.

Antioch officials said that it was determined all right to allow suitors to prepare proposals while the court issues are resolved, with the hope that the restaurant is reopened sooner rather than later.

The hope is that with new efforts to revitalize downtown, including a recently obtained $427,000 state grant, a new restaurant could be "another piece of that puzzle," Nunnally said.

The request for qualifications is on the city's website at www.ci.antioch.ca.us.

Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.