PattiGeorge’s demolished; Colony clearing comes next


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The iconic PattiGeorge’s Restauarant, which operated for more than four decades at its Bay front location on mid-Longboat Key, was demolished last Wednesday.

The demolition is to make way for plans by the owners, the Columbia Restaurant Group, which plans to build what will be called “The Buccaneer Inn” in its place.

Columbia Restaurant Group President Richard Gonzmart says the name was chosen in honor and memory of the historic Buccaneer Inn, which operated on Longboat from 1957 until 2005. He said it was his and his family’s favorite place to visit on Longboat where they often stayed.

The Columbia Restaurant Group purchased the property from Tommy Klauber in 2016, after owning the operation for approximately 20 years. Klauber also owned the Polo Grill in Lakewood Ranch, which he closed last year saying he opted not to renew the lease.


Colony demolition next

Tommy Klauber is son of Dr. Murray “Murf” Klauber who managed the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort for more than 40 years. Murf Klauber was involved in the initial purchase of PattiGeorge’s Restaurant about 20 years ago and Tommy soon took over control and ownership and introduced fusion cooking to Longboat Key.

Ironically, the other Klauber family former interest on the island — the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort — is due to be demolished next in mid-July.

Unicorp National Developments, Inc. was awarded the bid to demolish the former Colony by the Town of Longboat Key last week. Unicorp is the developer of the property and received an approved site plan from the town in April and is in the process of using the courts to compel a final ownership settlement sale and dissolution of the Association of Unit Owners.

Unicorp was awarded the contract to demolish mainly because they agreed to perform the work for free, with Unicorp President Chuck Whittall making clear that the cost would have eventually been charged against the development project.

Last week, a sign at the entrance of the Colony advertising the coming development appeared. In total, Unicorp is approved to build 78 St. Regis branded condominium residences and a 166-room St. Regis Resort on the 17.3-acre site of the former Colony.

After the demolition, the site will be seeded and by late fall extensive sales and marketing efforts will likely become apparent. Whittall is working with Michael Saunders and Company to market and sell the properties.

Whittall says that 25 of the 26 structures that make up the former Colony will come down in July along with the six-story mid-rise building.

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