Bradenton Beach pier concession needs concessions
Bradenton Beach city commissioners met in special session Jan. 11 to
hear a report from Commissioner Bill Shearon on why so few restaurant
operations decided to bid on the concession for the city pier, although
a number of bid packets were taken. Only one bid was submitted and that
was rejected by the commission.
Shearon had undertaken to contact
everyone who picked up a packet but then failed or declined to bid on
the concession. The answers, according to those he spoke with, is that
the city needs to make some concessions before they are interested in
"The biggest concern was
that the numbers do not match" what the city wants for a lease,
The city's demand for 12
percent of the monthly gross or a minimum of $5,000 per month was too
much to make the restaurant work, according to Shearon's findings.
He said he spoke with some other
Bradenton Beach restaurant operators who confirmed that making any restaurant
operate profitably at those prices would be difficult.
In addition, Shearon reported other
complaints were the demand for a 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily operation, competition
from nine other restaurants and two ice cream parlors within walking
distance of the pier, negotiating a new lease every year with five city
commissioners, too many requirements for personal information in the
bid package, the need to upgrade the facility, no lease agreement in
the bid package, and an unclear date when the pier would be ready for
occupancy. Shearon turned up 11 major objections to the bid package.
Most of those who picked up a bid
package assumed the lease would be subject to negotiations, he added.
Commissioner John Shaughnessy agreed.
He talked to the lone bidder, Michael Glazier, who said he had thought
there would be negotiations to complete a deal to lease the facility,
not an outright rejection by the commission.
Commissioner Lisa Marie Phillips,
who has previously been in the restaurant business on the Island, agreed
that the commission could consider a lower base rate for the lease, but
objected to complaints about competition.
"Whatever goes in there must
be competitive," she observed.
Shearon suggested the commission
look for a consultant to draw up a lease and establish a number of other
criteria for the concession, but Phillips said she "wasn't
fond" of consultants.
She said the concession doesn't
even have to be a restaurant, and believed the city could even consider
running its own operation from the pier. Whatever goes on the pier will "soar" when
the waterborne taxi starts dropping off mainland visitors at the pier,
No "fancy agreements" are
needed, Phillips claimed. "Let's just offer space at our
price" and see who makes an offer.
But Shaughnessy noted that other
businesses in the area are suffering because of a lack
of pier traffic.
Commissioners eventually agreed to have Shearon find
out how much a consultant would charge to draw up
a lease agreement that would include exactly who pays for what and who
is responsible for what. Terms of the lease will be discussed when and
if a consultant is found.