For about $60,000, the current building could be made workable through the end of the restaurant's lease in 2026, according to the county administration.
After half a year of wrangling, numerous protests, and a lawsuit over what to do about the supposedly unrepairable county building that houses Captain's BBQ at Bings Landing park, Flagler County has decided the building isn't beyond repair after all.
The county administration had, last year, determined that the building's condition was bad enough that it warranted replacement rather than fixing, and proposed the construction of a new building at the restaurant's expense elsewhere in the park. That would have let the restaurant operate without the interruption that would have accompanied rebuilding it in place, but it prompted outcry from residents concerned that the relocation would change the character of the popular park on the Intracoastal Waterway.
The county approved a new lease with the restaurant in November that would have allowed the relocation and an expansion to 150 seats, but two weeks later, after incoming County Commissioner Joe Mullins was seated, it changed plans, voting to reconsider the lease it had already signed. Then, on June 3, it decided to have the building reinspected to see if it could be fixed. And if it couldn't, commissioners decided, they'd have a modestly sized replacement constructed at the county's expense.
Meanwhile, on June 7, Captain's sued the county, alleging that the county has breached the contract it entered into with Captain's in November when it agreed to allow a larger, replacement building.
And now it turns our that the building may only need repairs, not replacement or reconstruction — at a cost of perhaps $60,000, according to the county administration.
The county's appraisal value is $175,000, and county officials under the administration of former County Administrator Craig Coffey had, last year, expressed concern that an attempt to repair the building in place may involve costs exceeding 50% of its value, the threshold that would require the old building to be brought up to new building codes, at potentially significant expense.
The new $60,000 estimate is well below that threshold.
“His (Chief Building Official Mark Boice's) invasive testing shows a dramatically different picture than the areas you previously were able to access,” County Administrator Jerry Cameron wrote in a memo to General Services Director Heidi Petito. “The exterior wall sill plates proved to be in excellent condition, making repair of the existing structure feasible.” (View Boice's full report HERE, and a summary HERE.)
Still, Cameron said in a county government news release June 14, “We must be careful not to guarantee that the building will meet expectations. Although the areas we inspected are very encouraging, there may be issues in other areas not uncovered.”
The former county administration had directed inspectors to perform only non-invasive testing, which showed water damage and wood rot. But the recent, invasive testing performed by Boice and Petito showed that critical areas were spared.
Boice inspected the roofing, walls, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, and flooring. There were "prominent deficiencies" with the flooring and sub-flooring, with soft spots in the dining area, kitchen and bathrooms, according to his report.
However, the report states, "It was concluded that the overall integrity of the building was good with the only noted deficiencies being the floor system along with minor electrical and exterior siding corrections being needed."
The county estimates that 970 feet of flooring and sub flooring need replacement or repair, along with the restaurant's restrooms, at a cost of $46,000. In addition, 1,200 square feet of OSB siding needs replacement, at a cost of $4,800. Some electrical issues also need fixing, for about $200.
The business would need to shut down for about four weeks for repairs to be completed, according to the report.
The County Commission will discuss the issue, and Petito will present the new findings, at the commission's upcoming meeting at 5 p.m. Monday, June 17, in the commission chambers at the Government Services Building at 1769 E. Moody Blvd. in Bunnell.