Shuttered Dania Beach waterfront restaurant could get new life as Lucky Fish

Dania Beach Grill shut down in 2019 after inspectors determined structure was unsafe

The current building on Dania Beach (Google Maps)
The current building on Dania Beach (Google Maps)

Dania Beach is moving forward with plans to redevelop a city-owned waterfront restaurant that closed more than two years ago after it was deemed structurally unsafe by city officials.

Dania Beach commissioners voted 4-1 on Tuesday to authorize the negotiation of a developer agreement with North Carolina-based LM Restaurants to revive the oceanfront property.

The city closed the old Dania Beach Grill at 65 North Beach Road in the spring of 2019.

LM Restaurants plans to redevelop the shuttered property as a two-building restaurant and entertainment complex called Lucky Fish, Dania Beach.

The company is a 43-year-old developer and operator of 38 restaurants and 13 brands in the Southeast. Its properties include the Lucky Fish and Oceanic restaurants in Pompano Beach and a Deerfield Beach restaurant called 2 Georges at the Cove.

LM Restaurants plans to build a restaurant inside the footprint of the old Dania Beach Grill and an adjacent outdoor tiki building that incorporates a covered band stage and event lawn.

LM Restaurants concept for the site (City of Dania Beach)

LM Restaurants concept for the site (City of Dania Beach)

The company estimated that its self-financed construction of Lucky Fish, Dania Beach would cost $5 million and that the restaurant would open 15 months after execution of a developer agreement with the city government.

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The short construction timeline appealed to commissioner Lori Lewellen, who said that would be a “big plus for our residents, because they really do want this done sooner than later.”

In April 2019, the city declared the Dania Beach Grill “unsafe” and closed the restaurant after an inspection by Calc Engineering found extensive damage to awning structures, window frames and doors, a wood deck and fence around the property, concrete tie beams and certain concrete walls, and mechanical equipment on the roof.

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The city subsequently issued a request for letters of interest in redeveloping the old Dania Beach Grill, and seven firms submitted qualified proposals by the July deadline.

After the companies made presentations in August to a committee of city staff members, the committee ranked LM Restaurants first, followed by second-ranked PDKN Holdings and third-ranked Caddy’s Restaurant Group.

This week, commissioners voted to work with LM Restaurants after they decided to eliminate PDKN Holdings from consideration. Founded in 2008, Fort Lauderdale-based PDKN is a restaurant developer and operator with four Bokampers restaurants in Broward County and Naples, among other properties. Caddy’s operates a chain of six restaurants on the west coast of Florida.

LM Restaurants proposed terms of a developer agreement with the city that included a 75-year lease of the old Dania Beach Grill property, including a 25-year initial term and two options for 25-year renewals. LM also agreed to share 4 percent of the restaurant sales revenue with the city.

Caddy’s Restaurant Group proposed a 30-year lease with an initial 10-year term and four options for five-year renewals. Both Caddy’s and PDKN proposed a 7 percent sales revenue-sharing deal with the city.

City Commissioner Joyce L. Davis voted in favor of negotiating a developer agreement with LM Restaurants and said she expects city staff to “negotiate a revenue sharing percentage that they see as fit and appropriate.”