The Quay property next to the Island Fish Co. in Marathon could soon be under the ownership of the City of Marathon.
After hearing from City Manager Chuck Lindsey, city council members talked Tuesday night about buying the land, where there was a restaurant and retail complex before Hurricane Wilma wiped it out in 2005.
Its assessed value is $2.1 million, owned by the estate of Gus Boulis, who was murdered in Fort Lauderdale in 2001.
“As you know, the Quay property was put up for sale and while they’ve received offers. Those offers will have to be adjudicated by a judge at the end of the month and the estate would prefer the city acquire the property,” Lindsey said.
The Quay extends from where the city-owned boat ramp is at MM 53.5 bayside north to where the land protrudes into the water.
“There couldn’t be a worse time for us to pull this off, but we feel in years to come we may regret not acquiring the property,” Lindsey said.
One of the main reasons council unanimously approved the buy was because if the city doesn’t buy it, people launching boats will have to wait in line on U.S.1, which could be a potential disaster when it comes to safety.
Council directed staff to proceed with the buy at an interest rate of 3.95 percent for three years.
“The buy would give us another three years and the people of Marathon time to think about what we’d like to see there,” said Councilman John Bartus.
Council heard a presentation from senior planner Brian Shea about creating historic districts in the city. The state Department of Economic Opportunity gave the city a grant to conduct the survey of historic homes in Marathon.
For example, the oceanside neighborhood of Little Venice has more than 100 homes which could contribute to a historic district since they date back 50 years or more.
“You need 50 percent approval [from the property owners] for the entire plat to be designated,” Shea said.
“I don’t see us as having the type of historic structures you’d really be worried about protecting,” said Councilman Mark Senmartin. “To me, this is another layer of government and I can see how it could go really, really wrong. I think the intent is great and the work is outstanding, but we’ve all heard the horror stories of Key West and their historical district and their committees. It’s that kind of a culture that I’m not looking to start here.”
The council agreed to hold a workshop sometime in the future about the potential for historic districts in the city.