ANNA MARIA – Mario Schoenfelder now has until Dec. 31 to submit his final offer for the lease of the restaurant and bait shop buildings being built on the new Anna Maria City Pier.
During an emergency commission meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 26, the Anna Maria City Commission unanimously granted Schoenfelder’s written request for more time to prepare and submit his final lease offer, which was originally due Friday, Dec. 13.
Mayor Dan Murphy told the commission Schoenfelder needs time to analyze the information he receives from his own contractor regarding the estimated cost for the interior build-outs for the city-owned buildings he hopes to lease. Murphy said Schoenfelder expects to have that information by Dec. 8 and he expects to submit his final offer by Dec. 30.
Mason Martin Builders is building the exterior shells of the new restaurant and bait shop buildings but that firm’s contract with the city does not include the interior build-outs to be completed by the pier tenant.
“I would recommend that we give him this extension, but it is certainly up to each of you,” Murphy said to the commission regarding Schoenfelder’s request.
Participating by phone, Commissioner Mark Short referenced the commission’s recent decision to authorize Murphy to prepare and have ready a request for proposals that would allow other restaurateurs to submit lease proposals if the commission rejects Schoenfelder’s final offer.
Short asked if giving Schoenfelder more time would delay that RFP process. Murphy said it would not. Short asked if the RFP would be ready to present to the commission on Jan. 9, if needed. Murphy said it would.
Murphy recommended the commission not make any final decisions regarding Schoenfelder’s final offer or the issuance of an RFP until a full commission is seated on Jan. 9. That’s when the commission will appoint someone to fill the commission seat Dale Woodland vacates on Dec. 5 due to his failure to properly qualify for the 2019 city elections.
Murphy said Schoenfelder will not return to the United States until March and would like to discuss his final offer with the commission as a whole.
“March is too long to wait. We need to know, and he needs to know, where we stand on his final offer,” Murphy said of that timeline.
Murphy said the commission discussion with Schoenfelder could take place in January via Skype, telephone or some other means of electronic communication, but the commission first needs to see his final offer.
Schoenfelder’s current pier lease expires on Dec. 15, 2020. In October, Schoenfelder rejected two lease options Murphy presented him. One option proposed a base rent of $21,600 per month with a 3% annual increase. The second option proposed a base rent of $18,900 per month, a $250,000 up-front payment and the same annual increase. In an email to Murphy, Schoenfelder noted his own previous offer was $12,000 per month.
When the old pier closed in September 2017, Schoenfelder was paying $9,240 a month, according to his lease contract. His monthly rent was scheduled to increase to $10,080 in December 2018, but that increase never occurred because his lease payments were suspended after the pier was closed.
Other pier matters
On Nov. 26, the commission also authorized Murphy to sign a grant agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for the additional $285,000 the Florida Legislature approved for the pier project earlier this year.
Murphy said the $285,000 includes restrictions and auditing requirements that didn’t apply to the $750,000 state legislators approved for the pier project in 2018. The $285,000 can only be used for pier enhancements that include but are not limited to public restrooms, electrical wiring from the shore to the pier buildings, pedestrian lighting and pedestrian railings that extend from the pier entrance to the mean low tide level.
The commission approved Murphy’s related request to expand the annual financial auditing services the CS&L accounting firm provides the city to also include audits of the federal and state funds received and spent on the pier project. The pier-related audit reports will also be shared with county officials in appreciation of the county’s financial support of the pier project.