RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — Developers looking to build a high-end restaurant on the old "Crab Pot" parcel in Riviera Beach got a 4-1 victory to move forward Wednesday night at the city council meeting.
The project got support from many business owners in the area, but residents in the nearby condo building voiced concerns about parking and safety.
While the Crab Pot used to be on a parcel of land that you had to go under the Blue Heron Bridge to reach, it was bull dozed after damage from the tropical storms of 2004 and 2005.
The condo was slated to be rebuilt in the area's original development plans.
Proponents of the rebuilding said they have the right to do so, but opponents from Marina Grande, the condo building next door, said they don't want it in their neighborhood.
"Every time you went there, you knew everybody," said Deb Wagner, a long-time waitress at the Brass Ring Pub in North Palm Beach who misses the Crab Pot. "Amazing place, great memories when they went down. It was so sad, so sad."
And the developers want to bring it back to its old glory.
"A place for everybody, it was a place for everybody to enjoy, and you could come in and have a beer or hamburger and this was affordable, and that's the kind of thing we're going to recreate," said developer Raymond Graziotto of of Seven Kings Holdings, Inc.
"We need to have a place like that because it's not a Red Lobster. Let's have our Crab Pot," said Riviera Beach resident Dan Calloway.
"We have nowhere to go here Riviera Beach," said a Riveria Beach resident at Wednesday night's city council meeting.
Residents at this condo next store, referred to by locals as the condiment building because of its ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise coloring say, "not so fast."
"The restaurant doesn't fit in that .35 acre spot," said Marina Grande condo resident Marybeth Kofer in a Rivera Beach City Council meeting on Wednesday.
"I mean we're concerned about resale values, are concerned about the quality of life, concerned about security. One of the reasons we moved to that location is because of the serenity and the quality of life and security. And all of that's going to be disrupted," said Daniel McGilvery, a resident Marina Grande.
Others in the condo disagree.
"Win-win for the Marina, Marina Grande community, by way of an added amenity and for the city in terms of economic development thing," said a condo resident in Wednesday's meeting.
"I just think it's going to be a well-welcomed addition to Rivera Beach," said another condo owner.
"There's a handful of folks in that building, and that's what I really think it is, it's a [vocal] super minority of people that are just, you know, not interested in having anything new in their backyard," Graziotto said.
The Rivera Beach City council asked the developer to make concessions with the residents at the condo.
"Close the restaurant at certain times, we're going to make sure that we don't have live music beyond a certain hour of the day...," said Graziotto.
Some said condo residents should expect disruptions from the restaurant.
"The Crab Pot was there. This is nothing new. It was there before they built the new condo right behind there," Calloway said.
There are restaurants like Rafiki Tiki at the Rivera Beach Marina that are near the water here in Riviera Beach, but the developer of the Crab Pot said it will be the only restaurant on the water.
"You don't have a waterfront restaurant that you can look at today and say that's in my city. This is your chance," said Michael Kennedy, president of the Marine Industries of Palm Beach County.
"We're the best waterfront city without a waterfront restaurant on the mainland. It makes no sense to me," said Tamara Fitzgerald, owner of Venue Marketing Group.
While the plans are to move forward with a high-end restaurant. It was discovered Wednesday night that the new eatery may not be able to use the "Crab Pot" name.
Ryan Cordero is the owner of the Old Key Lime House and whose family owned the original Crab Pot.
"I knew nothing about it, was never any contact made to me or my family in any way shape or form regarding this," Cordero said. "What they're trying to do here is not the Crab Pot. It will never be a Crab Pot period. My family is the Crab Pot."
Despite the name, locals sayid the nostalgic location with be the true draw.
"I think a lot of people would end up going there again to catch up with old friends. I'll be running there after work every day," Wagner said.