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Mermaid's Thelen Era Over

The Hermosa Beach fixture that speaks to days gone by will have new owners soon. So, what is its fate?

The Thelen era of operation of the Mermaid restaurant and cocktail bar ended Monday morning at 2, Diana Albergate, current Mermaid owner and operator told Patch Monday afternoon.

The legendary local hangout's fate became quite the conversation piece late last week after the pubic learned the restaurant and the entire L-shaped property it is part of soon would close escrow. 

Albergate expects escrow to close this week and won't be opening the Mermaid's doors to the public in the meantime, she told Patch.

Last week as rumors of the restaurant's fate and imminent closure swirled, she told the Easy Reader that the prospective owners plan to keep the Mermaid “as is” but that “once it’s purchased they can do whatever they want.”

Situated with an envious ocean view at 11 Pier Avenue next to The Strand boardwalk where everything hip happens, the iconic establishment was owned for its first 57 years by Quentin “Boots” Thelen, who died in 2007, leaving the Mermaid and surrounding property to Albergate [his stepdaughter] and other family members. They then listed the entire L-shaped property for sale to pay estate taxes, according to a Beach Reporter article, which says the property has been for sale since 2007. 

Albergate thinks the Mermaid will open its doors again as the Mermaid after the new owners make some minor upgrades. She said the restaurant will have "new operators," reportedly from the in Marina del Rey. The same report says that the new property owners plan to turn one of the existing businesses on the property into a Killer Shrimp by November. 

The L-shaped property includes  bar and , which face The Strand, and the restaurant,  shop and Tiki Mon Creamery & Café around the corner on Pier Avenue plaza.

Talk is that the new property owners ultimately want to build a hotel on the site, a process that could take some three years to secure all of the necessary approvals and permits.

Good Stuff Owner Cris Bennett told Patch he hopes to get another three years in his existing prime HB location on The Strand and that he'd like for Good Stuff to be incorporated into the hotel. 

"I would love to stay in Hermosa Beach and land in one of those [buildings when the hotel opens]," he said. "I would love to have the opportunity to do that.

"We'd be a good fit; we serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. And we're a pretty good tenant," he said. Good Stuff has been in Hermosa for 32 years and has restaurants in Redondo Beach and El Segundo. It once was also in downtown Manhattan Beach.

Bennett said that he has yet to communicate directly with the new property owners, who are reported to be One Pier Avenue, LLC. He believes the new owners will move forward strategically in their bid to develop the reported L-shaped hotel. 

"The last thing the city would want is to board up buildings and put a fence around prime beach front property [beyond the time necessary to construct the new hotel]," he said. 

Correction: An earlier vesion of this article incorrectly used the word "Phelen" instead of "Thelen," as in Quentin "Boots" Thelen. We apologize for this error.

Martha Diaz July 31, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Yes, I was there Sunday and very said to see the good old mermaid go.....as I have seen this land markt since 1953, when we first moved to Hermosa Beach. Many good times there....memories never to be forgotton :) Martha Diaz
kathy mcleod July 31, 2012 at 05:08 PM
I've long hoped this iconic place would maintain its namesake, open up the ocean-view piano bar -- and put in a see-through aquarium wall with a "real" human mermaid swimming to entertain patrons (circa 1940s-50s). Now THAT would be a money-maker! Oh well...here comes another generic, homogenized, beachview-blocking hotel. Thanks Mermaid for so many great memories!!!!
Ryan Nowicki July 31, 2012 at 05:10 PM
As an ode to the long time establishments in Hermosa Beach, I would suggest to the new property owners that they name their hotel "The Mermaid Hotel" and have a rooftop deck/lounge appropriately named "The Poop Deck."
joey July 31, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Why would Hermosa City Council even allow the thought of a hotel there? It's a despicable idea. Why not try and keep the current residents happy instead of creating MORE traffic with less cool and funky places to go? It's really a depressing thing to think of Hermosa just 20 years ago. With record shops, either-or bookstore, cafe 50s, restyle too, the bijou movie theater, etc... I would give anything to get that town back and get rid of the drunk mobs of frat boy retards doing pub crawls from one lame bar to the next. As a life long resident, Hermosa's ugly and terrible mistakes make me want to move to Santa Barbera, where the city officials actually care about conservation and keeping a place classy, without desperate attempts to bring in revenue to a town that was once so charming. Get a clue Hermosa... You can still make your money and keep a town a fun and nice place to live in and or visit.
Josh McLeod July 31, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Cool! A large hotel... Right next door to a large hotel! What an awesome idea! Go Hermosa! Maybe next, concrete over the first 2 miles of ocean to build more hotels with more bars sometime soon? Then hire more police to traffic the area to give out more tickets! $$$$$$$!!!!!!$$$$$$!!!!!!$$$$$$$
Sara July 31, 2012 at 06:02 PM
A new hotel- the perfect answer to Hermosa’s traffic, drunk frat boys and orange girl problem. Let’s get rid of one the last old timey decent places on that god forsaken pier and replace it with a Manhattan Beach esque, ocean blocking, overpriced, douche-bag attracting hotel.
Duke Noor July 31, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Just kiss a little more of HB's character good bye when (and if) this hotel project succeeds. All we need is more impact and congestion from a hotel on the property. Typical developers though. Just come in and impact the area and then go back to your low-scale environments at our expense. I'm grateful for Noble Park (one block North) however, a breath of fresh air in a sea of concrete. Bet Harold at La Playita is grateful as well.
Jay Philbrick July 31, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I cant believe I am agreeing with my conservative neighbor Duke but a "hotel"?? Has the city council gone crazy. I cant believe building another hotel on that "L" shaped property is a good idea for the city or it's residents!!
Vince July 31, 2012 at 10:09 PM
El Diablo.... Hermosa will go the way Manhattan Beach went, to the snooty, plastic yuppies.... RIP Mermaid & the great times.... the General Store, Fernando's, either/or, Grecko's..... Nothing lasts forever....quite sad actually
Ryan Nowicki July 31, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Now there's an idea Duke - have the City take the property under eminent domain. The City would have to acquire the property for its fair market value, but it could introduce a ballot measure to raise the $25 million for the acquisition in order to keep this property as is (or make it a park). So, would any of you vote for a tax increase on yourselves if it meant keeping the good ol' Hermosa that everyone speaks of? I wonder....
Mary Friese July 31, 2012 at 10:17 PM
I love your idea, Ryan. Yes...Poop Deck on the top of the Mermaid Hotel; appropriate. The Poop Deck has special meaning to my family and I don't want it to go away.
Yoli Landis July 31, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Our family watched Neil Armstrong step onto the moon surface in 1969, from the Mermaid's back dining room, where they had a new large-screen TV. We will never forget that night, and so many other happy times. Boots was always at the bar, watching everything inside and out. The servers and bar tenders were young, and then older, as we were. The food and drinks were always the best.
Joe Cloud July 31, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Longing to come ' home' to what Hermosa Beach was when I was growing up ( 1960's through the 1980's , ok so growing up took me a little longer).None the less it's obvious that Hermosa is just NOT Hermosa Beach any longer. I sit here in Oklahoma wondering what the hell am I doing here and not a the playful and peaceful beach I grew up in! Guess I'd now be complaining, what the hell am I doing at this tourist trap with all these party animals!! Sad day! I blame NOT the Thelen family as I believe it's very hard on them. They have to do what's financially sound for them ( with insane taxes these days). City of Hermosa Beach City Council, PLEASE think HARD and LONG on this one .. From a former Mermaid employee and resident of a 'once then' little city. Sad, sad times!
rosie August 01, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Oh. awesome. You guys should name your cool new hotel "Lick My Nuts!"
Mary Friese August 01, 2012 at 01:53 AM
I feel for you, Joe. I grew up in Manhattan Before it became the tourist draw that it now is. I've lived in Hermosa also. I moved away for work and a different life for a while...but was never happy being away from my precious beach. I'd suggest coming back...Manhattan and Hermosa are super expensive and crazy packed...so I moved to Redondo. I'm by the beach again and love it. Come on back...your soul is here.
Dale Turkle August 05, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Joe, as another former Mermaid employee (lot attendant 1979-1982) I'll miss it too. The last piece of not only Hermosa but the entire old beach community.
Steve Lister August 13, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Let's just pave the whole damn city with concrete, hotels and corporate establishments! It seems that all of our small cities as well as the rest of Southern California has turned into an overcrowded quagmire of cars, buildings and people. Gone are the days of the laid back times of the 60s and 70s! God help this state, the good old days are gone forever!

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