Thursday, November 30, 2017

Illegal Panama Hatties' Rebuilding Project Halted by City of St. Augustine Beach Building Official

The St. Augustine Record newspaper has reported that Panama Hatties' is being rebuilt.  The developer's plans have been rejected for reconstruction of the decrepit building, purchased by South Florida interests for $4.2 million, above market value.

St. Augustine Beach City Planning and Building Director Gary Larson has rightly rejected plans for remodeling of Panama Hatties.

St. Augustine Record developer fanboy STUART KORFHAGE omitted this detail from his laudatory article about the "really cool building" the South Florida purchaser plans, resembling Salt Life Food Shack restaurant.  Developer fanboy STUART KORFHAGE once again fails to hold a developer accountable.  Does he work for readers or for developers?

More parking is required because more seating is requested, Mr. Larson writes.

First, a confirmatory e-mail from Mr. Larson on his ruling, sent earlier this morning in response to my Open Records request Number 2017-6; then the St. Augustine Record article and one from 2002:

Mr. Larson's e-mail:

RE: FEMA 50% Rule

Well aware  of  requirements.  At this time,  the plans  for re-model   have been  denied  by the City  due to  wanting to expand   outside  seating to the North  upper  wing without  additional  parking.  Where this  is at   now,   there  is  extreme structural issues  with what was there.  The  South  wing  is  built on railroad  ties  in the ground.  The  North wing  has  rotted  timbers   in the  ceiling.  Found in the interior  after  drywall  was  removed,   openings  cut  everywhere,   hollow   concrete  block columns  holding   ceiling  and  upper  level  members.  When a  total  damage assessment is made,  new  plans will be  required.   The  owners have been  advised,  consider   placing the facility  on pilings  for additional  parking  underneath.   The    finished floor  is  also 1.3  feet  below  the require  10 foot elevation  that needs to be addressed.   Most  likely,  they will have to come before the P & Z  for  a  concept  review and  final  development order issued  for the facility.  They  can also    request a  variance for  parking.  Will keep  you  advised  as  this issue   unfolds. 

Now here's the Record's incurious article by fanboy Stuart Korfhage:

Panama Hattie’s in midst of major renovation, to be completed in spring

One of St. Augustine Beach’s iconic dining spots is in the process of getting a serious renovation.
Construction crews have been working since September to dismantle parts of Panama Hattie’s on A1A Beach Boulevard. This week, the demolition phase is going to get even more intense as crews remove more of the building as they clear it to the original structure from the 1940s.
Construction superintendent Jon Berthiaum of GK Development Group said the restaurant will have a new look by the time construction is completed in the spring of 2018. He said it will look more like its neighbor Salt Life Food Shack, which opened in 2013.
“It’s going to be a super cool building,” Berthiaum said.
The new restaurant is expected to have a “state of the art” kitchen and more seating on the second floor.
“We’re excited about the renovation of this St. Augustine Beach landmark,” said Alex Mavris, part of the ownership group.
“Our upgraded new look will complement the recent improvements and developments here on the beach.”
With two hurricanes hitting the area in the last two hurricane seasons, Berthiaum said the improvements will also leave the structure better suited to handling storm conditions.
Although the restaurant is closed while undergoing such extensive changes, there are still many who are visiting the site for nostalgic reasons.
Berthiaum said he wonders how many couples met or became engaged at the restaurant, which had great views from the second-floor deck. He noticed that many people seem to have a sentimental attachment to the old place.
While workers have been doing their demolition work, they’ve had to keep visitors from entering the site — more for safety reasons than anything else. Berthiaum said a lot of longtime patrons have been looking for a piece of the building to snag as a souvenir.

Rose Centamore Edwards
So sad it isn't going to keep that old homey feeling that it had when you walked in there. Dressing it up like Salt Life is not impressive. Always had an elderly crowd at the bars, up and down. That place to gather and throw the bull. Walking into Salt Life makes you feel like you should be wearing that little black evening dress. Only been there like twice. Panama Hattie's on the other hand with their great food and comfortable look was the place we went to very often. So sad they are turning into a NY night club.
LikeReply9Nov 28, 2017 7:39am
Tom Jones
You said it all. NY nightclub 😠. REAL locals cant even have one decent place to hangout.
LikeReply4Nov 28, 2017 10:11am
Dennis Gunter
Rose Centamore Edwards and All. Fear not. Panama Hatties is not turning into a NY night Club. We are keeping a lot of the original feel of Panama Hatties with a fresh look on the inside and out and it will not look like Salt Life. Be patient and know that the owners value the local clientel and want to keep that casual fun feeling with great food and drinks at a grreat price.
LikeReply3Nov 28, 2017 10:41am
Jennifer Rice · 
The article said it's going to look more like Salt Life. Make up your minds.
LikeReply2Nov 28, 2017 11:15am
Slate Creek · 
Let’s just hope the next storm doesn’t destroy the new building.
Ruth Hill · 
I'm happy to see the changes. The floor always looked filthy! Just appalling. many newer surfaces are easier to keep clean.
Sherry Hutchins · 
The old place was totally disgusting; the new place will look disgustinting. I, for one, am disgusted.
LikeReply3Nov 28, 2017 8:54am
Eve Slaven
Got Diarrhea 🤮 @ Salt Life 👎🏾
David Cash
It needed a serious renovation. It had become run down and filthy. Anything will be an improvement.
LikeReply2Nov 28, 2017 10:06am
Dru Nugent
Glad you are updating and wish you the best in this new endeavor. Looking forward to seeing the improvements.
LikeReply1Nov 28, 2017 11:35am
Linda Kay Sanchez · 
Works at Retired
Not happy that it will not be the homey feeling that all of us locals have had for years. We don't need another Salt Life. If people want to go to Salt Life, let them go there. Why do we have to have a duplicate. Your local people are your bread and butter. They are the ones who make your business work. I'm not against the renovations as they were needed, but we don't need a fancy place.
UnlikeReply2Nov 28, 2017 9:58pm
Geoff Timm · 
They should package pieces in blocks of transparent plastic and sell to defray costs. Should be able to get a deal from one of the tourist token shops. Geoff Who never studied marketing...I'd been rich...!
LikeReply18 hrs
Edward Adelbert Slavin · 
City of St. Augustine Beach rejected the plans, as confirmed in November 30, 2017 e-mail from building official Gary Larson. More seating requires more parking.

2002 Record article about demolition plans then:

Panama Hatties to pour its last drink Monday
Senior Writer
Published Saturday, September 28, 2002
ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH -- Panama Hatties, a 6,500-square-foot restaurant at 361 A1A Beach Blvd., closes for good Monday night.

But, be forewarned -- Don't miss this going-away party!

The farewell is scheduled for Monday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. A free buffet will be offered and there will be "deeply discounted" drinks, said Ed Farley of Farley Development, St. Augustine Beach.

He heads a group of investors that bought Panama Hatties this week for an undisclosed sum. The new company is named Sandcastle of Anastasia LLC.

"We just want to move the liquor out," he said. "That should be some party."

The 200-seat restaurant, constructed in 1958, and its .8 acre are appraised at $2.1 million.

"We're doing a feasibility study right now to see what the highest and best use of the property is," Farley said. "We're looking at (building) retail space and a 2,000 square foot restaurant that will carry the Panama Hatties name during off-season months."

The investment group consists of Farley, Panama Hatties owner Stephen Ransom, Aleta Anderson of Realty World, swing band leader Ed Trester and real estate attorney John Galleta, plus out-of-state investors from New Jersey, Germany and the Bahamas.

Ransom, who has owned the property since May with his wife, sold it to Sandcastle then turned around and bought a share.

"They put an offer on the table," Ransom said Friday. "It would have been pretty hard bringing this old place back. And we're limited to what we can do to promote it. Parking was also a problem. In the long run, it could be a heavy burden."

Noise was also a concern.

Condominiums behind the property prompted four or five complaints per night to police about loud music at the bar, he said.

"St. Augustine Beach people are great," Ransom said. "Locals can carry you."

Farley, a former executive with the Captain D's restaurant chain, said Panama Hatties will be torn down.

"It's 40 years old and is reaching the end of its useful life. It doesn't have handicapped rest rooms upstairs and there are other problems," he said.

But he hasn't yet applied for permits or zoning changes.

"It's commercially zoned now. We considered building condos there, but we'd need to ask for a zoning change," he said. "That's Plan B. But we wouldn't want to do that unless we have the blessing of the City Commission."

The retail vision right now is seeing a smaller Panama Hatties open, then perhaps an ice cream, bagel and kite shop in the other spaces.

"The whole beach is changing because of the new (restored) beach," he said. "The city is now undergoing redevelopment."


Anonymous said...

Fake news as usual by the sub human piece of scum that wrote this garbage!

Ed Slavin said...

I am sorry that you're inarticulate. Sorehead.