ANNA MARIA – On Wednesday, Feb. 19, Mayor Dan Murphy provided city commissioners with an e-mail update regarding the request for proposals (RFP) the city issued in January seeking a new city pier tenant.
The new tenant will occupy the new city-owned restaurant and bait shop buildings at the T-end of the new pier.
“We don’t anticipate receiving any responses to the RFP until we are close to, or most likely on, the due date. This is the norm for any RFP process. Serious bidders take as much time as possible to perform their due diligence, evaluate the market and prepare a business case,” Murphy’s email update said.
“As of today, 10 restauranteurs have expressed interest in our outstanding RFP. That is not to say that all 10 will submit a bid, but a significant level of interest exists in the local hospitality community. We have received inquiries from St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Lakeland, Bradenton/Sarasota and Anna Maria Island,” Murphy wrote.
An optional meeting for interested bidders was scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 26, at 10:30 a.m.
“Interested parties who may have open questions remaining would probably attend,” Murphy wrote.
“The final submission date for the RFP is Tuesday, March 10 at 1 p.m. The bids will be opened at that time, but only the name of the bidders will be disclosed. We will have 30 days to evaluate and rank the bids. Details of the bid contents are confidential during that evaluation process,” Murphy wrote.
When contacted Friday, Murphy said 14 parties have expressed interest or posed questions about leasing the pier buildings.
“There’s lots of interest out there. That makes me feel good,” he said.
Questions and answers
Upon request, Murphy shared a document containing written questions posed by potential tenants and the responses provided by the city. That document is referred to as Pier RFP Addendum #2 and it does not reveal the names of any potential bidders that posed questions.
In response to one question, the RFP addendum says there is no draft lease for potential tenants to review, but they can obtain a copy of the previous pier lease.
Current pier tenant Mario Schoenfelder’s lease expires in mid-December. In January, the commission rejected his final offer to pay $8,000 in initial monthly base rent as part of a new 10-year lease.
The addendum says it is negotiable as to whether the city will provide the pier tenant any allowance for the interior build-out of the city-owned pier buildings.
According to the questions posed and the answers given were:
- The tenant will be required to obtain liability insurance for at least $2 million.
- The tenant is allowed to sell retail items and merchandise.
- Restaurant and bait shop patrons will have the shared use of the pier’s common areas.
- Hours of operation are negotiable.
- The bait shop can sell beer, the tenant’s ability to obtain a liquor license is negotiable and there is no city ordinance prohibiting liquor service on the pier.
- Live music in the outside common area is negotiable, as is the tenant’s ability to place additional outdoor seating in the common area at the pier’s T-end.
- Maintenance costs will be shared by the tenant and the city on a prorated basis, and those financial terms are negotiable.
- Regarding menu expectations or requirements, the addendum says, “Good quality food.”
- Regarding there being any city expectations or requirements for the restaurant’s name, the addendum says, “Yes – City Pier Restaurant, but negotiable.”
- The city prefers that breakfast be served, but that is negotiable.
- The number of parking spaces provided to the tenant will depend on how many seats the tenant proposes.
- The city is unable to provide an estimate on the taxes and utilities to be paid by the tenant.
- The city is unable to provide data regarding the average number of pier visitors in past years.
- Potential bidders can request a tour of the pier and pier buildings with their own architect and/or builder.