The Pelican Cafe being sold
Stuart, Fl (treasurecoast.com)-The Pelican Cafe in Stuart is being sold. The Daly’s, who currently own the Pelican Cafe, recently signed a 20-year extension on the lease. The restaurant is on city property, and during the lease negotiations there were rumors that the Daly’s had plans to turn around and sell the restaurant after securing a new long-term lease. They denied the rumors, but after a long negotiation City Commissioners were able to get language in the new lease that would protect the city in the event the Pelican Cafe was sold. Earlier this week the Daly’s agreed to sell the Cafe to Michael Matakaetis, owner of the Stuart Boathouse, Mondo’s Wood Fire Pizza, and Hurricane Grill & Wings. The city now will have the opportunity to negotiate a new lease with Matakaetis. If a new lease is not secured by February 1st, then the deal is void.
Stuart commissioners Mike Meir and Meritt Matheson both spoke out in great deal about this issue.
Stuart Commissioner Merritt Matheson weighs in on Pelican Cafe lease
I would like to address the recent outcry claiming that the City of Stuart is removing the lease of the Pelican Cafe. Let me start by saying I enjoy taking my family to the Pelican and believe the atmosphere matches Stuart’s charm very well. The establishment is dog-friendly, kid-friendly, well staffed and reasonably priced. However, I do not believe that as an elected official I should be making decisions based on my own personal preferences, particularly when an issue involves residents’ tax dollars.
The message presented by Mr. Daly, the Proprietor, that the Pelican needs to be SAVED is flat out misleading. As I write this, the Pelican safely has another two years on its lease.
The question before me right now is: Should the City rush into signing a renewal early if it may not be the best deal for the taxpayers? I will always listen to the residents. I readily acknowledge that in the most recent referendum regarding the property, voters were overwhelmingly in favor of Stuart negotiating a long-term lease with the “property known as the Pelican Cafe.” The referendum had no terms of the lease, just that we should negotiate one and that the terms of the lease would provide tax relief to taxpayers.
Stuart Commissioner Mike Meier speaks out about Pelican Cafe lease
I will be asking for a lease that gives the citizens (through the commission) the ability to negotiate a fair-market rent in the event of a sale of the Pelican Cafe after an extended lease is signed. If the citizens want to offer a below-market lease to the Pelican Cafe because it is a beloved local small business, I am onboard with that, but what happens if that local small business is bought by a corporate chain? I truly believe Mr. and Mrs. Daly have no malicious intent to pull one over on the voters here, but without any controls in the lease, the citizens of Stuart are stuck footing the opportunity cost on a low-rent lease to a new business they might not like very much. I’m confident the Daly’s intentions are pure, but, as we all know, stuff happens. It’s my duty to protect the taxpayer in the event of that stuff happening.
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