City Taps New Conference Center Operator
ALISO VIEJO – City staff will begin negotiations with a new operator for the Aliso Viejo Conference Center, which has lost close to $1 million over the past five years.
The City Council voted 4-1 at its meeting April 15 to move forward with negotiations with Z-Golf Food and Beverage Services to operate the conference center for five years, beginning July 1. Councilman Phil Tsunoda was opposed.
Four businesses submitted proposals to operate the conference center, and the two finalists chosen were Z-Golf and Kemper Sports, which has operated the facility since 2010. In that time, the city’s general fund has subsidized $940,000 in losses at the facility.
Community Services Director Karen Crocker said she and other staff members were impressed when they visited the Wedgewood Wedding and Banquet Center in San Clemente, operated by Z-Golf.
Councilman Dave Harrington, who toured the Z-Golf facility, noted that Z-Golf staff members presented their upcoming event calendar immediately while city staff had asked numerous times for an Aliso Viejo Conference Center event calendar and didn’t receive one until City Manager David Doyle asked again three weeks ago.
While the two companies projected to have similar management fees in the first year of the contract, around $100,000, Z-Golf’s proposal includes an increase to about $250,000 for the following years. Crocker said the increase in the management fee is justified because Z-Golf projects higher revenues than Kemper Sports.
Z-Golf-managed facilities average 100 weddings per year, and Kemper Sports has averaged 30 weddings per year over the last five years at the Aliso Viejo Conference Center.
Both companies offered to reduce their management fees if they do not meet their projected revenues.
Councilman Ross Chun, who also toured the Z-Golf facility, said he was impressed with the company’s modern amenities.
“They have a 21st-century approach to managing sales and revenue,” Chun said.
ABOUT WEDGEWOOD WEDDING & BANQUET CENTER
For nearly 30 years, Wedgewood Wedding & Banquet Center has specialized in all-inclusive, completely customizable packaged events across California, as well as in Las Vegas, Phoenix and Boulder. Designed for value, service and convenience, Wedgewood hosts thousands of events—from weddings and receptions to holiday parties, corporate events and golf tournaments—and more than 200,000 guests every year at their beautiful locations. For more information, visit wedgewoodbanquet.com.
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