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City Pier Grill lease terms finalized

ANNA MARIA – The city of Anna Maria and GSM Partners LLC have reached an agreement that allows Nick Graham, Brian Seymour and Vic Mattay to operate the City Pier Grill on the new City Pier.

Operating in the smaller of two city-owned spaces at the pier’s end, City Pier Grill will offer “family-friendly” takeout food that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner items, ice cream, desserts and beer and wine. The business operations will also include a bait shop that offers live and frozen bait, fishing tackle and more.

Seymour is the owner/operator of the Anna Maria General Store & Deli on Pine Avenue. Mattay operates his Dips Ice Cream shop inside the general store and Graham manages the ice cream shop for Mattay. The three men are equal partners in the adjacent Pine Avenue Bait and Tackle store and they recently formed GSM Partners for their City Pier Grill operations.

Seymour said the trio will share the decision-making responsibilities and he will serve as the managing partner authorized to speak on the partnership’s behalf.

Seymour said they hope to open City Pier Grill the week before Thanksgiving.

Lease contract approved

On Thursday evening, the city commission voted 4-0 in favor of authorizing Mayor Dan Murphy to sign a five-year lease contract with GSM Partners.

“We’ve come up with this contract which I think is very fair and equitable,” Murphy said of the lease terms he and Seymour negotiated.

The lease includes one five-year renewal at the tenant’s option.

GSM Partners agreed to pay the city $6,000 per month in base rent, $500 of which is for the use of additional space inside the larger primary pier building. The building’s future use has not yet been determined.

The space inside the primary building will house a portable cooler and a portable freezer that will both be on wheels and easily relocated if the city later leases the entire primary building to another tenant. In that case, GSM Partners’ monthly rent would decrease by $500.

City Pier Grill lease finalized
City Pier Grill will operate in the space on the left side of the pier. The future use of the space on the right side of the pier remains unknown. – Joe Hendricks | Sun

According to the lease, the city reserves the right to negotiate with GSM Partners for the expanded use of the primary pier building, but also reserves the right to lease the entire primary building to another tenant.

Seymour told the commission he and his partners look forward to a lengthy business relationship with the city and they may one day also consider leasing the primary building.

GSM Partners will reimburse the city for 10% of the actual cost to maintain the pier and pier facilities.

“It will never go below 10%, but it could go above 10%,” Murphy said of those costs to be reviewed annually.

GSM Partners will also be responsible for 20% of the total utility bills associated with the pier.

The lease states the tenant has 45 days to complete the interior buildouts and be open for business. Murphy said there’s an incentive in the lease that provides up to 30 days free rent if they open sooner.

“I think it’s a good partnership. I think the right person got the bid. We’re very pleased to have you as a tenant on the pier,” Murphy said.

“I just wanted to thank the commission and the mayor. We think it’s fair for both the city and for us and we’re excited to get started. I’m proud to be a part of it. I think we’re going to make it a great place for everybody,” Seymour said.

“I’m thrilled that we have a resident of the city Anna Maria who’s heading up this partnership,” Commission Chair Carol Carter said.

Carter noted the city also has some commitments to fulfill as its share of the interior buildout process.

“We have to do the drywall, the hood and the grease trap,” she said.

Seymour said the $25,000 grease trap the commission previously approved as part of the city’s anticipated buildout costs won’t be necessary.

“There is a need for a grease trap, but not a big one buried on land. We only need one under the three-compartment sink, before the drain, to keep the grease in the trap. The grease trap the commission approved was for a full-service restaurant,” Seymour said when contacted later that night.

Seymour said the kitchen will have a flattop grill, a charbroiler and a deep fryer; the grease from the deep fryer will be recycled in a separate container.

“I have a cooking oil company that comes and collects all the used cooking oil,” he said.

“Amen and namaste,” Commissioner Jon Crane said during the meeting, before making the motion authorizing Murphy to sign the lease.

“This relationship is benefitting several businesses and several people, all who have close ties to the city of Anna Maria,” Commissioner Mark Short said.

“That influenced my vote as well,” Commissioner Joe Muscatello said.

“Especially looking forward to your desserts,” Muscatello added in reference to Anna Maria-based Hometown Desserts providing the dessert offerings in addition to Mattay’s ice cream offerings.

“We look forward to working with you and I think all the residents and visitors will be thrilled to have the grill and bait shop open on the pier,” Carter said.

Eager to start

After leaving city hall, Seymour said, “We’re already in the process of getting the final designs from our designer. We’ve got our equipment purchase list done. We need to hire a general contractor so we can start the permitting process and start building the space out. We’ve already been contacted by at least a dozen local hospitality workers who are interested in being part of this. We’re going to put together an excellent team that’s got a lot of experience right from the start.”

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Seymour’s group selected for City Pier grill and bait shop


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