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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021 1 month ago

Pier pressure: Owner, town at odds over shuttered beach attraction

A legal battle rages over the future of the vacant Redington Long Pier site, a prime piece of Gulf-front real estate.

Once a popular seaside attraction for locals and tourists alike, the Redington Long Pier vanished, seemingly for good, in spring 2020, demolished after a yearslong battle between property owner Nashaat “Tony” Antonious and the town of Redington Shores. At 17490 Gulf Blvd., the 0.78-acre site now sits vacant, except for a motley assortment of vehicles — RV, tow truck, jet skis, etc. — and a ramshackle screened fence that blocks access to what used to be a parking lot for beachgoers.

The parcel is prime real estate, right on the Gulf, but because of its zoning — recreation/open space — Antonious, or whoever buys the property, has limited development options. That’s the crux of the dispute that’s turned the former Long Pier into an eyesore.

John Burpee & Associates, a Seminole-based commercial real estate brokerage, is handling the sale of the property, but the site doesn’t appear among the listings on the firm’s website. CEO John Burpee tells Coffee Talk the property is currently leased while Antonious continues his quest to get it rezoned.

The owner sued the town government in 2019 for some $15 million in damages, claiming he was harmed by the town’s refusal to change the land-use designation so that a residential or commercial building could be developed. That lawsuit was settled out of court in September 2020, but earlier this year, Redington Shores’ planning and zoning board again nixed Antonious’s rezoning request, giving rise to more legal action. Burpee, however, says there’s hope the town will allow a small condo or hotel building on the site.

“The appellate process is still underway, with regard to the zoning,” Burpee says. “The city has settled with the owner on the first lawsuit, but a second suit is pending, from what I understand. We’re just waiting for the city to determine how many units they’re going to allow on the property. Once we get a density count, then we will bring it back to market.”

Regarding the vehicles parked on the property, Burpee didn’t know who they belonged to but says the lease expires at the end of October, and he referred further questions to Antonious’s daughter, Jackie Kafedjian, who is also his attorney. A call to her office was not returned.

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