End of the line for Nikki Beach?

Miami Beach commissioners authorized lease negotiations for the property with Boucher Brothers

Miami Beach Commissioner Ricky Arriola and the Nikki Beach Club (

Miami Beach Commissioner Ricky Arriola and the Nikki Beach Club (City of Miami Beach, Nikki Beach Club)

Miami Beach elected officials are laying the groundwork to find a new operator for the Nikki Beach property, the longtime restaurant and outdoor club on prime waterfront in the city’s South of Fifth neighborhood.

On Friday, commissioners voted 5-2 to authorize City Manager Alina Hudak to enter into a non-binding term sheet with Boucher Brothers to take over the two-story venue on city-owned land. The new lease would begin in three years when the current management contract expires. 

Married couple Jack and Lucia Penrod have operated Nikki Beach, and a previous iteration called Penrod’s on the Beach, for 37 years, according to city documents. In addition to a 23,000-square-foot building at 1 Ocean Drive, the Penrods also have exclusive use of a public beach area for outdoor seating. They currently pay Miami Beach about $42 a square foot annually, according to city staff. 

The change comes without the city putting a new lease out for bid, a move that drew criticism from some commissioners and residents on a Miami Beach Nextdoor forum.

Commissioner Ricky Arriola, who sponsored the measure to find a new operator, said he is proposing a change after having conversations with principals of Boucher Brothers, which currently has a long-running city contract to provide chairs, umbrellas and other concessions on public beaches. Boucher Brothers is managed by James, Michael, Perry and Steven Boucher, according to state corporate records. 

“Boucher Brothers expressed an interest in taking over,” Arriola said. “I would be willing to engage them in a non-binding term sheet.” 

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He insisted that his intention was not to give Boucher Brothers a three-year headstart on a no-bid contract. If Boucher Brothers submits a “compelling proposal,” then the city could use it as a “stalking horse” offer as a baseline to attract other possible bidders. 

Arriola also claimed that the city’s competitive bid process often takes too long, and results in either no bids or only one bidder submitting a proposal. 

Commissioner Steven Meiner, who along with his colleague Alex Fernandez voted no, said he preferred the city put the Nikki Beach contract out for bid. “We should let the market not only dictate ideas, but also the value,” Meiner said. “I am not even comfortable with doing a term sheet.”

By only negotiating with Boucher Brothers, city commissioners are creating a public perception of favoritism, Meiner added. 

In a letter posted on the social media platform Nextdoor, Lucia Penrod said she and her husband were blindsided by the city. “We were not notified, nor invited to participate,” she wrote. “We want to continue our partnership with the city and our neighbors.”

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