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Front Page » Top Stories » Miami Close To Lease Extension For Rusty Pelican

Miami Close To Lease Extension For Rusty Pelican

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Written by on May 19, 2005

By Claudio Mendonca
The City of Miami is working on extending the lease for the Rusty Pelican restaurant on Virginia Key. Once drafting is completed, the lease extension must go to the city commission and then to the state for approval.

The new lease can be extended until October 2027. The Rusty Pelican, owned by Specialty Restaurant Corp. of Anaheim, CA, would get 15 more years on the city-owned site and two five-year renewal options.

The city would get $360,000 minimum in annual rent, which would rise to 7% of sales of less than $12 million or 8% of more than $12 million.

"We’ve had a number of meetings with the building department and now are in the final stages of terms," said John Kenney, chief financial officer for Specialty Restaurants in Anaheim.

Lori Billberry, acting director of economic development for the city, said two minor issues should be resolved within two weeks.

"We are finalizing sentences in amendments and revising sketches," she said. "We are moving forward."

Restaurant and city officials hope the extension can be discussed at the city commission’s June 23 meeting.

Specialty representatives said the corporation spent $4 million on capital improvements. As part of the agreement, the company is to build a $600,000 walkway from the restaurant to Miami Marine Stadium, a city property that has been dormant since Hurricane Andrew battered it in 1992.

Last November, city voters approved expansion of the restaurant. Plans include the addition of 2,000 square feet on the ground floor and a tiki bar in the front lounge. Specialty is also considering adding 3,600 square feet on the second floor for two banquet rooms.

The Rusty Pelican averages 1,000 customers on weekend nights and welcomed 4,000 people on Mother’s Day, said Manager Peter Knezevic. With the improvements, he said, the restaurant could add $3 million in annual revenue and 1,500 diners on a typical Saturday.

State approval of the lease is required, Ms. Billberry said, to waive deed restrictions on the public waterfront land, which faces downtown Miami with sunset views.

The city is acting on the restaurant’s long-term lease as it begins a master-planning process to decide future land uses on government-owned Virginia Key. The city kicked off the planning with an April 27 ceremony.

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