Developer seeking tenant for planned Ocean Drive restaurant

Apparently, the new restaurant under construction on Ocean Drive across from Bobby’s will not be the new home of The Tides.

According to Kristin Casalino of the Rita Curry Real Estate Team, which has the listing, property owner Sony Investment Real Estate Inc is actively seeking a tenant for the 2,685-square-foot, 143-seat restaurant.

Sony’s Vero Beach attorney, Bruce Barkett, identified The Tides as the new restaurant’s tenant during a Vero Beach Planning and Zoning Commission meeting in March.

However, The Tides owner and chef Leanne Kelleher began backing away from the project this past spring, after island residents and other Ocean Drive business owners publicly voiced concerns about the new restaurant’s impact on an already-difficult parking situation in the Central Beach business district.

Kelleher said in late May that, although she had expressed interest in moving her popular restaurant to the Ocean Drive location and was still involved in discussions with the property owner, she had not yet made a decision.

Now, Kelleher appears to have decided against making the move to Ocean Drive.

Casalino said her group is seeking a tenant that would sign a five-year, triple-net lease for the restaurant – the tenant would pay all taxes, insurance and maintenance expenses that arise from the use of the property – with rent of $12,000 per month.

“We’ve gotten a few inquiries,” Casalino said.

Paul Parent of Parent Construction, the Vero Beach contractor who broke ground on the project last month, said he’s building only the restaurant’s shell and, weather permitting, expects to be done in January.

He said work on the interior probably won’t begin until the Miami-based property owner finds a tenant willing to commit to and pay for the Ocean Drive location.

“I have no idea who they’re going to put in there,” Parent said. “All I know is that it’s going to be a restaurant. The interior is a separate project, and that will be up to the tenant. We’re not even putting down a slab inside.”

Actually, Parent’s crew didn’t do much of anything the past couple of weeks – because, he said, the city was “rearranging utilities over there.” He was hoping to resume construction late last week, but the city’s work was still ongoing.

“We can’t do anything more until they’re finished, so we’re waiting,” Parent said. “We’re eager to get back to work.”

Over the past few weeks, Vero Beach 32963 has left several phone messages for Kelleher at her restaurant. She has not responded to any of them.

If a restaurant other than The Tides moves into the Ocean Drive location – which now seems likely – the new business could make parking in that area far worse than anyone thought.

The Tides doesn’t serve lunch. Another tenant might.

“We approved the site plan,” City Planning Director Tim McGarry said. “The applicant met all the conditions required by the city code. There were no restrictions against serving lunch or breakfast.”

During their public meetings, members of both the Planning & Zoning Board and City Council asked about the possibility of limiting the new restaurant to dinner-only service – to ease the parking shortage during the business day.

Barkett said Sony would not agree to any such restriction, which would’ve been unenforceable under the city code, anyway.

Comments are closed.