Maxwell's by the Sea, the city's landmark beachfront restaurant, will close Jan. 7 because it needs more than $1 million in repairs, city officials said.
Community Services Director Ron Hagan said an inspection to disclose the condition of the building to new lessees earlier this month discovered that the building's foundation is crumbling and that major electrical, plumbing and exhaust repairs are needed.
The building next to the pier on Pacific Coast Highway at Main Street was built in 1932. The restaurant was scheduled to be torn down next year and rebuilt.
Hagan said the restaurant will remain open through the holiday season and a city staff person will be on the premises for fire safety purposes and to ensure that equipment works properly.
Two fast-food restaurants, an arcade and beach rental shop on the lower level of the building will also close Jan. 7, Hagan said.
Hagan said the city leases the restaurant to WPL Industries, which is planning to sell its lease to Fifties Drive-In Inc.
Rebuilding Maxwell's is part of a city project called Pier Plaza, aimed at enhancing the municipal pier area with new landscape, lighting, a parking lot and lawn amphitheater. The restaurant is scheduled to be rebuilt into a full-service dinner house with lower-level banquet facilities.
However, the $3.5-million Pier Plaza project has been put on hold because of the county bankruptcy, because the money for the project is tied up in the investment pool, Hagan said. It was hoped that construction of the new restaurant and the Pier Plaza project would take place at the same time, Hagan said.
Hagan said that the $5-million Maxwell's project has been approved by the city's design and review board and environmental board. The project is scheduled to go before the Planning Commission in January.
However, Hagan said construction of the new restaurant is contingent on the city's ability to finance the Pier Plaza improvements as well as the lessee's ability to get financing to build a new restaurant.