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Construction schedule for Buccaneer restaurant remains unknown

Developers are hoping to have building permits and cost estimates in hand by mid-May for the Buccaneer restaurant project on Longboat Key.

The Buccaneer Restaurant is planned to take the spot of the former site of Pattigeorge’s.
The Buccaneer Restaurant is planned to take the spot of the former site of Pattigeorge’s.
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When the Columbia Restaurant group will complete construction of the Buccaneer new restaurant and have it open for business is still unknown. 

According to Tim Steele, facility, construction and maintenance manager for the project, the restaurant is still in the middle of design. 

Construction permits and costs are expected by the middle of May at the earliest, he wrote in an email. 

“Only then will we know our start schedule,” Steele wrote. 

The restaurant planned for 4120 Gulf of Mexico Drive sits just north of Bayfront Park and just south of Harbour Square commercial center, which the Columbia Restaurant owners bought in September 2017. It is the former site of Pattigeorge’s, which was demolished in June 2018. 

The plan is to build a 196-seat restaurant. 

Since the restaurant submitted its application to the town in April 2020 — before the town's June 2020 restaurant parking changes took effect — the project is grandfathered in to the town’s previous parking rules. The new rules mean that instead of requiring one parking space for every 150 square feet of floor area, the Buccaneer is only required to have one parking spot for every four seats. 

With the restaurant’s plans for 196 seats, plans will need to show 49 parking spots instead of the 101 that would have been required under the new parking rules had they submitted plans later. 

The Planning and Zoning Board unanimously approved both the site development plan and special exceptions in May 2021. 

At that time, representatives of the restaurant said there was no timetable for opening the restaurant, but estimated Columbia Restaurant group would submit documents to acquire a building permit in about two years. That two-year estimate meets Steele’s current expectations of having permits by May of this year. 

Planning and Zoning Board members at the time approved the developer’s special exception to allow an elevator shaft to exceed the town’s maximum height by 3 feet and an outdoor dining space. The maximum height for buildings is usually 30 feet. 

Concerns for the project’s outdated parking requirements were addressed by a condition added to the approval of site development plans by Planning, Zoning and Building staff. The condition states the group must submit an overflow parking plan before the town will consider issuing a building permit. 

Prior to approving the plans, board members urged developers to keep in mind that if the Buccaneer Restaurant wanted to undergo renovations or modifications in the future, such redevelopment could trigger the new parking rules. 



Lauren Tronstad

Lauren Tronstad is the Longboat Key news reporter for the Observer. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2021. Before moving to Florida, she worked for the Columbia Daily Tribune.

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