Loosen your belts and open your wallets because In-N-Out has finally broken ground on the highly anticipated Seaside restaurant after five years of moving in and out of state and local bureaucracy.
The project began more than five years ago when consultant Jonathan Sapp approached In-N-Out’s real estate developer about opening a restaurant on a vacant parcel of land on Del Monte Boulevard between the Laguna Grande lake and M&S Building Supply. Financial projections showed that the location would be one of the most successful franchises, and so the team entered a very long and drawn-out negotiation process.
Just before closing escrow on the property in 2010, Seaside elected a new mayor, Felix Bachofner, along with several new council members. This new group was confident that the site was better purposed as a hotel.
Two years later, Sapp and In-N-Out caught a break when former mayor Ralph Rubio took back his seat from Bachofner during the 2012 election. Rubio directed his people to draw up a new proposal, and since the In-N-Out was all but approved, the process began once more. This time, it was Governor Jerry Brown who threw the next curveball.
By getting rid of California redevelopment agencies, properties to be sold off—such as one in question for In-N-Out—had to be reviewed by multiple state boards in order to ensure the deal was not only kosher, but also that the property tax was appropriately distributed to the various districts.
But before In-N-Out could close escrow, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Army Corps of Engineers had to provide clearance for the approval of the site because of its proximity to protected wetlands. So after five years of negotiations, the most difficult In-N-Out in the history of In-N-Outs finally closed escrow Sept. 1 and began construction Sept. 11, according to their official Facebook page.
“I feel like I have never been more excited about anything in my entire life more than In-N-Out opening that close to my house,” says Carmel High senior Stefano Ventura, elated over the news of In-N-Out breaking ground. “That’s pretty sick. I can get two Double-Doubles, take one home, or eat it on the way home. Oh yeah, I will try to get there during lunch.”
But not everyone is happy for Seaside to be animal-styled.
“This is a perfect example of poor city planning,” says science teacher Jason Maas-Baldwin who lives right around the corner from the construction site. “If you look at traffic patterns in the area, anybody with half a brain cell would know there are better locations for an In-N-Out. Especially not by my house.”
Regardless, the restaurant is scheduled to open in January 2016 should no more delays, re-elections or political kerfuffles present themselves.