Pier issues present additional challenges

Pier issues present additional challenges
It is not yet known who will occupy these new buildings being built at the T-end of Anna Maria’s new City Pier. - Joe Hendricks | Sun

ANNA MARIA – Mayor Dan Murphy will seek city commission authorization to prepare a request for proposals (RFP) for the potential lease of the city-owned restaurant and bait shop buildings being built on the new City Pier.

On Oct. 24, Murphy told the city commission that on Nov. 14 he would formally request authorization to prepare a pier lease RFP as part of the city’s ongoing efforts to secure a pier tenant.

In late September, Murphy emailed current pier tenant Mario Schoenfelder two options for a new 10-year lease.

Murphy proposed either an initial base rent of $21,600 per month or an initial base rent of $18,900 per month with an additional $250,000 up-front payment due upon signing.

Schoenfelder rejected those proposed terms and referred to his own previous offer to pay the city a base rent of $12,000 per month. Schoenfelder’s current lease expires in December 2020.

“His final offer is due to the city by December 13,” Murphy told the commission. “In case Mr. Schoenfelder’s offer is in fact rejected, I want to be prepared to quickly issue this RFP.”

Later in the week, Murphy was asked about the RFP process that could ensue if the commission rejects Schoenfelder’s final pier lease offer.

“Mario could bid it on it, as well as anyone else interested in having a restaurant on our pier if the commission authorizes putting it out for bid if Mario’s final offer doesn’t meet the needs of the city,” Murphy said.

“If it’s not in the best interest of the city, the commission could decide not to open a restaurant and use the space for other purposes. The city needs to get some sort of return on its investment over a 10-year span,” Murphy said.

Design conflict

During last week’s meeting, Murphy said a design conflict has arisen between the architect, Barron Schimberg, who designed the new pier buildings and the engineering firm, Ayres Associates, that designed and engineered the new pier.

“I have a meeting tomorrow to get to the bottom of all of that, to see exactly where the responsibility lies, as well as the scope of any delay it may cause us,” Murphy told the commission.

“Hopefully it will be a minor issue,” he added, noting that he would not publicly speculate on the exact nature of the design conflict.

On Friday, Oct. 25, Murphy issued an email stating his meeting with the architect and the engineers was delayed until Thursday, Oct. 31 because one of the parties was unavailable.

“We’ve got a plan to address any issues and I’m still investigating this,” Murphy said on Friday.

Interior build-out

During last week’s meeting, Murphy announced that Mason Martin Builders, the firm constructing the new pier buildings, has retracted its option to complete the interior build-out of those structures.

That decision came in the wake of a recent email exchange between Murphy and Schoenfelder in which Schoenfelder said he felt he was being forced to use the city’s contractor of choice to complete the interior build-outs of the spaces he hoped to lease.

Murphy told Schoenfelder he would not be obligated to use the city’s contractor for the interior build-outs and was free to get estimates from other contractors even though that could further delay the opening of the restaurant and bait shop in 2020.

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