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Longboat planners want Pattigeorge’s site to always have a restaurant

The former 7,241-square-foot Pattigeorge’s Waterfront Restaurant on Longboat Key will soon be torn down.


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  • | 1:32 p.m. November 17, 2016
  • Longboat Key
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Longboat Key planners want to ensure there will always be a restaurant on the site at 4120 Gulf of Mexico Drive where the former Pattigeorge’s Waterfront Restaurant operated from 1977 until  closing last June.

The former 7,241-square-foot Pattigeorge’s Waterfront Restaurant on Longboat Key will soon be torn down. The Columbia Restaurant Group is redeveloping the site as a 200-seat eatery yet to be named.

In the first Longboat Key Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting of 2016, two variance requests for the site were granted unanimously Thursday with one condition: The approval applies only to restaurant uses.

Any other proposed commercial ventures would go back to square one in obtaining approval from town planners.

The variance requests granted:

• The 52 parking space lengths were shortened from 20 to 18 feet long; and

• The required 50-foot rear setback from Sarasota Bay was waived and the  building will be set right on the waterfront. The dock now hangs 20 feet over Florida state waters.

Longboat Key planners want site of former Pattigeorge's to always have a restaurant.
Longboat Key planners want site of former Pattigeorge's to always have a restaurant.

“It will maximize the views of the bay, but will not be built back over the water,” said planner Steve Schield.

Because one variance allows the new restaurant to be sited right at water’s edge, rather than the 50-feet setback required in the town building code, any proposed use other than a restaurant would mean the new building would likely have to be torn down and rebuilt farther off the water to conform, Schield said.

CRG President Richard Gonzmart, 63, said the new 7,184-square-foot restaurant would cost up  to $4 million to build.

The four ZBA members all lauded the plan, which means an aging, nonconforming 54-year-old building with foundation problems will be replaced by a new eatery with improved water access.

Schield said only the Shore on Longboat Key, a restaurant under construction at 800 Broadway in Longbeach Village; and Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant and Pub next door to the Shore, are the only other commercial uses on the island with the same zoning as the Columbia Restaurant Group’s property.

Richard Gonzmart is building a restaurant on the site of the former Pattigeorge's Waterfront Restaurant on Longboat Key.
Richard Gonzmart is building a restaurant on the site of the former Pattigeorge's Waterfront Restaurant on Longboat Key.

Gonzmart has not yet released a name or a concept for his new dining space. He bought the property for $1.9 million.

Site plans have been filed with the Longboat Key Planning, Zoning and Building Department, according to Director Alaina Ray. LBK Real Estate Holding LLC of Tampa filed its application for the variances Oct. 6.

The new facility will be flood protected, promote public access to the waterfront and offer pedestrian and bicycle access to Bayfront Park, according to Matthew Campo of Campo Engineering in Tampa. Bayfront Park is set to open in 2017.

Campo assured planners the new building would be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act using a south-side access ramp. Campo did not say when construction would begin.

In other action:

• Larry Linhart was reappointed to the board.

• Chairman Gaele Berthold and Vice Chairman Linhart were reappointed to ZBA leadership posts while board member Ann Roth was appointed ZBA secretary.

• The ZBA will meet next at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 15 if required. If no agenda item surfaces, the meeting could be canceled.

• Before Thursday, the last ZBA meeting was Oct. 15, 2015.