After several months of hope for the success of the yet-to-be-built Ford's Boathouse at the location of the former K-C's River Stop at the Cape Coral Yacht Club, the whole plan was nearly brought back to the drawing board Monday.
The city council, though, voted 5-3 to approve the lease between the city and the owners of the proposed eatery during its regular meeting at city hall.
However, concerns about the length of the lease, as well as the terms regarding the gas pumps in the event of failure, had council members reconsidering their original for-approval stance.
The new lease agreement is for 10 years, with a 10-year option, which is different from the original five-year lease with three five-year options.
The change concerned some council members.
"I support the Boathouse, but a 10-year lease I won't support. The former lessee would never have gotten that," Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz said. "If you do what you say you're going to do, you'll get your renewal. Ten years is too long."
K-C's River Stop had a seven-year lease with a 10-year option, according to Parks and Recreation Director Steve Pohlman.
"I don't like the lease from a landlord perspective. I'd sign this 14 times if I was the lessee," Councilmember Rana Erbrick said. "I would never offer this lease. My job is to protect the city."
Erbrick's biggest concern was that since the Request for Proposals issued by the city when the stand went up for bid had different terms that may have prevented other potential bidders from throwing their hat in the ring.
"One would wonder if one of the vendors would have changed some of the proposals if they thought they could get terms of this nature," Erbrick said. "The RFP was specific on the terms. Who knows who would have gone for it."
The gas tanks were installed in 1993, according to records provided by Pohlman. They are double-walled tanks that he said should be able to withstand the life of the lease.
But if the tanks do need replacement or repair, Ford's would have to reimburse the city for the costs, amortized over the term of the lease.
In other words, the city would have to pay up front, with Ford's paying later over the longer period. It was a condition that also concerned some on council.
"They are the ones who are getting the benefit of the tanks. If something happens in which they need to come up for replacement, it should be their responsibility," Erbrick said.
There were still also concerns about the late hours and what impact it would have on the neighborhood, the supporters of the lease said they would hold Zak Kearns and his ownership team tom their word.
Sullivan, Chulakes-Leetz and Erbrick cast the dissenting votes.
"I would have liked to see something more favorable to the city. That's a great lease for the tenant," Erbrick said. "This is a decision we have to live with for 20 years."