Parks & Rec Commission to Discuss Fate of Manor Building

The City of Belmont hopes to increase visitation, community use, and generate revenue from the historic building.

In an effort to reduce expenditures and increase revenue, the City of Belmont recently reevaluated the use of the historic Manor Building in Twin Pines Park.

The Manor Building, which housed the Peninsula Art Museum until earlier this year when it relocated to Burlingame, is now vacant, save for the top floor, which is used as private studio space for local artists.

This Wednesday, the Belmont Parks and Recreation Commission will discuss options for future use of the building.

The Parks and Recreation Department re-evaluated the use of its buildings and proposed alternatives for discussion concerning the highest and best use of the facilities to meet the goals of increased visitation, community use, and revenue generation.

According to the staff report, the 5,700-square-foot Manor House is in good condition, as it was renovated in 2008/2009 at a cost of close to $400,000, from the general fund.

The San Mateo County Arts Council leased the Manor House from the City and moved in during September of 1976. The County Arts Council converted the institutional kitchen into a formal art gallery and provided exhibitions and other programs until December of 2002.

The San Mateo County Arts Council was dissolved in 2002 and in 2003 the City entered into a five year lease with the Peninsula Museum of Art for use of the Manor House.

The Peninsula Museum of Art rented the second floor rooms to visual artists and used that revenue to pay rent to the City, janitorial service, insurance, alarm service, and for building repair. The main floor tenants included the Belmont Arts Council, the Peninsula Arts Council, and the Peninsula Museum of Art.

The rent averaged $28,500 a year ($0.41 per square foot per month) to the City but did not include the cost of utilities which amounted to about $10,000 a year, resulting in a net revenue to the City of about $18,500 per year or $1,540 /month.

The Belmont Parks and Recreation will meet this Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers of City Hall, One Twin Pines Lane. To view the agenda and for more history on the Manor House, click here. Meetings can also be viewed on Channel 27, or streamed live at www.belmont.gov.

What do you think should become of the Manor House? Tell us in the comment section below.

Judi February 05, 2013 at 04:47 PM
I think we need to be careful here... Belmont "community" spaces too often turn into "commercial" or rental properties. Even the Library's Toby Room is usually not available for community use.
Ken Perkins February 06, 2013 at 01:03 AM
We must certainly make every effort to see that Belmont has sufficient spaces for community activities. But I fail to see how the Belmont Library's Taube Community Room is "usually not available for community use". My wife and I attend many events held in the Taube Room each year, sponsored by local groups such as the Friends of the Belmont Library (I'm a member of the Friends), the American Association of University Women, and Sequoia Hospital. And there are many other events held there which we don't attend that are sponsored by similar local groups. I don't see any evidence of the Taube Room being turned into ""commercial" or rental properties. The Belmont Library's policy on use of the Taube Room, taken from the San Mateo County Library System's website is: "The Taube Community Room is mainly used for library events. Community organizations that wish to use the room need to fill out an application with the Belmont Parks and Recreation Department and pay a $25 processing fee." If Judi or some organization she knows of has had a problem reserving the room, I'm sure our wonderful librarian, Kathleen Beasley, can help her.
Jon Freeman February 07, 2013 at 09:37 PM
This one is easy, make the bottom floor a library expansion, maybe toss in a coffee shop to help cover costs. Keep the upstairs for the art gallery for local artists! :)
Steve Hayes February 11, 2013 at 02:00 AM
I like the idea of a coffee shop (something special like Philz) and use some of the space for Park & Rec activities - increase revenue while also increasing the enjoyment of going to the park.


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