MARGATE — Construction has started to install almost 600 feet of new bulkhead along the bayfront after city officials finalized an agreement with a local restaurant in December.
The city announced that the owners of Luciano Lamberti Restaurant & Sunset Marina at 9707 Amherst Ave. have agreed to pay for the construction of the bulkhead at no cost to taxpayers.
In return for this replacement of 588 feet of bulkhead at the city's specifications, the city has agreed to vacate the leased area.
Restaurant owners could not be reached for comment.
The restaurant's 50-year lease with the city had 18 years left at $500 per year with the obligation to maintain 231 feet of the bulkhead, according to City Solicitor John Abbott.
The restaurant owners will now own the land and be responsible for maintenance of the new bulkhead, the city said.
According to the agreement, the restaurant will also provide the use of 24 spaces for residential parking in its Amherst Avenue lot from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
City officials said construction is underway and is expected to be completed before Memorial Day.
The agreement contributes to city efforts to rebuild areas of the damaged bulkhead to a height of about 8 feet above the mean water line, providing improved flood mitigation in the hopes of lowering residential flood insurance rates and protecting area property values.
City officials said the agreement also responds to local resident requests for additional parking options and lays the groundwork for a wider public promenade area by the bay.
Two other projects to reconstruct bulkheads and create a bayfront promenade were approved last year — Sean Gormley's plan to rebuild Capt. Andy’s with a 2,600-square-foot addition and Jim Leeds' plan to rebuild Integrity Marine.
City commissioners said in a statement they believe the city is on a successful path to restoring the integrity of the bayfront area and providing some relief to the city's limited parking, which they say is a long-term issue that burdens many living on barrier islands.