The owner of the restaurant, Runway Two-Five Corp., told airport officials three weeks ago that it planned to shut down the Proud Bird.
Airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles said the company has not sent an official letter of termination to Los Angeles World Airports, the restaurant’s landlord.
A restaurant manager who declined to give his name said the restaurant will close on Nov. 21.
However, the banquet portion of the facility will remain open for an additional month, he said. All the restaurant’s employees have been informed of the closure.
The Proud Bird, which specializes in steaks and seafood, is located on Aviation Boulevard in Westchester, just east of two parallel runways — Runways 25R and 25L — on the south side of the airport.
It’s a popular meeting point for plane spotters, or people (often tourists) who take pictures of airplanes landing and taking off. The restaurant maintains a large collection of historic airplanes parked outside the dining room.
In a statement, Los Angeles World Airport officials said the decision to close the restaurant may have been linked to a dispute over how much rent Runway Two-Five Corp. should pay.
According to airport officials, the company had been paying “below market rent” on a month-to-month basis since its five-year lease expired in April 2011. Under those terms, LAWA is now receiving rent of $18,201 a month for 8.3 acres of commercial property, according to the statement.
Under the Los Angeles city charter, airport officials said, a new lease would have go through a competitive bidding process and must be based on current market value. Sources say Runway Two-Five Corp. did not want to renew the lease at market value.
Airport officials referred questions to John Tallichet, chairman of the board of Specialty Restaurants Corp., parent of Runway Two-Five Corp. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Castles said that, at this point, the airport has no other plans for the Proud Bird building or the land.
(Brian Sumers - Daily Breeze)