Pier tenant lease terms being considered

AM Pier rendering
This architectural rendering illustrates what the new pier buildings will look like. - Schimberg Group | Submitted

ANNA MARIA – Mayor Dan Murphy is asking city commissioners to provide their feedback on the lease terms they want for the tenant of the soon-to-be-built Anna Maria City Pier.

Construction of the new pier is expected to begin the third week of January and be completed in August 2019. Current tenant Mario Schoenfelder’s lease expires in December 2020, and he will have the option to sign a new and extended lease.

During the commission’s Thursday, Dec. 13 meeting, Murphy presented a single-page document that provides several lease options for commissioners to consider. Murphy said the list was designed to provoke feedback from each commissioner on the lease terms to be discussed with the Schoenfelder. He wants that feedback by Dec. 31.

Based on that feedback, Murphy will prepare a “straw man contract” to bring back to the commission in January when seeking authorization to negotiate a new lease with Schoenfelder.

According to Murphy’s list of contract considerations, Schoenfelder had been paying the city a flat rate of $11,900 per month (with an annual Cost Price Index escalator). Those monthly payments were suspended at some point after the hurricane-damaged pier was closed in September 2017.

Schoenfelder’s current lease is for the entire pier structure in addition to the restaurant and bait shop spaces at the pier’s T-end. The current lease includes city-owned parking spaces and requires Schoenfelder to pay the county property taxes for the entire pier, the utilities and the liability insurance.

The current lease requires Schoenfelder to maintain the entire pier. Commissioner Dale Woodland is among the commission members who have indicated they want the city to be responsible for the maintenance of the new pier.

Lease considerations

The lease considerations include a proposed $500,000 down payment, or some other contribution, from the pier tenant for the buildout of the restaurant, bait shop and restrooms to be built at the pier’s T-end.

Murphy and Schoenfelder have already engaged in preliminary buildout discussions with architect Barron Schimberg. If satisfactory terms are reached, Schoenfelder will have input on the interior buildout of the city-owned building.

Lease considerations include the length of the new lease and any additional extensions to be granted. Commission input will help determine whether the new lease is based on a flat monthly rate, a percentage of revenues or a combination of both, and will help determine how much of the new pier is leased to the tenant and how the property tax and utility bills are to be handled.

Murphy said he expects the new pier building to be turned over to the pier tenant in December 2019 or January 2020.

It has been stated at previous meetings that if lease terms cannot be reached with Schoenfelder, a new tenant would be sought.

Additional funding

Murphy told commissioners the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has reduced its proposed financial contributions to the pier project from approximately $1.35 million to approximately $800,000. This is due to confusion regarding the use of the word ‘repair’ versus ‘replace’ when the city sought and received $750,000 from the state Legislature during its 2018 session.

Murphy said he planned to attend a Manatee County commission meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 19 at the Patricia M. Glass Commission Chambers, where he and several other local leaders will present their legislative priorities and funding requests to incoming Florida Senate President Bill Galvano and incoming State Representative Will Robinson.

Murphy will ask the state Legislature to help fill the $500,000 pier funding gap created by the FEMA decision. He will also seek Galvano and Robinson’s support regarding any vacation rental or home rule legislation proposed during the 2019 legislative session.