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Marina Cantina Coming to Clearwater Beach

Restaurateur Frank Chivas plans to spend an estimated $1.3 million in renovations to the Clearwater Marina to transform much of the space into the Marina Cantina Tequila Bar and Grille.

Beneath the faded blue vinyl siding sits the once proud vestige of a tug boat.

While the is home to the largest fishing fleet on this side of the state, its building is a bland byproduct of years of haphazard reconditioning.

The building is set to become the center of the next piece of Clearwater Beach’s renaissance as restaurateur Frank Chivas wants to bring back the building’s vintage look by pouring more than $1.3 million in enhancements and upgrades into it as part of construction of his Marina Cantina Tequila Bar and Grille. 

City leaders just need to sign off on the deal. They talk about the plan and a contract for the restaurant space at their work session meeting at 1 p.m. Monday at .

“The anticipated success of the restaurant, and enhanced marina facility, will support and leverage the overall tourist attraction and economic performance of the beach area in general and for the marina,” according to city documents supporting the agreement. “The physical restoration of the facility to approximate its original design will provide assurance to the community that the marina will remain an appropriate structure in the area redevelopment.”

Chivas, who is an owner of Baystar Restaurant Group, which includes ,  and Salt Rock Grill, is planning to create the mexican restaurant and beer bar at the 1950s era two-story structure.

The deal would mean the 1,524 square foot gift shop, which lease expires in January, is not renewed. The existing restaurant, ice cream shop and barber, pirates pantry and Remax offices would remain. 

Already Chivas has been working on the first floor space. The Harbormaster offices on the second floor will be moved there. Chivas is paying the roughly $30,000 for those improvements, according to city documents.

Chivas’ restaurant will incorporate 9,285 square feet of interior space and 11,237 square feet of exterior patio space. The restaurant will include the second and third floor including remolding the cupola. The restaurant would take up a portion of the first floor as well.

The construction costs are about $1.3 million. The total project is estimated at $2.5 million. Part of those estimated costs include nearly $13,000 for a pre-opening night charity event for the Clearwater Community Sailing Center, $40,000 for the restaurant's decor and $400,000 for barstools and tables. 

The five year lease has options to renew at five year intervals. The lease includes a reduced rental rate for 12 years to help Chivas recoup some of the $2.5 million.

The city should get a $80,136 payment for rent a year. Rent will be $9 a square foot for the first seven years. Then it would bump to $17.50 a square foot for years 8 through 12. After that the rent on the enclosed square footage is $20 a square foot, which is the current market rate for commercial space at the marina. 

The city also gets an 8 percent cut of alcohol sales at the restaurant billed as a tequila bar. That part of the contract kicks in after the third year.

Chivas already signed a lease for much of the second floor of the marina Oct. 25, 2011. The three-year lease is worth $2,585 a month plus 8 percent of alcohol sales that are more than $10,000, according to city documents.

Any lease for more than five years has to be approved by the City Council.

Justin Syder September 04, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Wonderful news!
Jimmy Sylakowski September 04, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Awesome!
Fred Fraston January 27, 2013 at 02:09 AM
Frank Chivas is the nastiest bastard on the planet. He is a scientologist and lies about everything for his own profit. He owns the planning department and always gets what he wants aven if it is against national building code.

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