ST. PETERSBURG — Captain Al's Restaurant at the Pier has closed. The city, which owns the Pier, filed suit this month to evict the waterfront grill and bar for not paying rent since the end of June. According to the suit, Captain Al's owes the city $47,787.15 in back rent.
The casual dining restaurant had been at the Pier since 2002. It closed its doors Tuesday.
"They weren't making any payments,'' said Carol Everson, general manager for the Pier.
Alex Toth, owner of the restaurant, could not be reached for comment.
Everson, who works for Urban Retail Properties, the firm that manages the Pier for the city, said no other tenant is in danger of eviction.
"There are a couple who are late in their payments (but) they are making payments,'' she said.
"We try to work with tenants who are struggling,'' said Chris Ballestra, director of the city's Downtown Enterprise Facilities department. "I'm very sensitive to the struggle that the economy has brought to all of our businesses downtown.''
Meanwhile, there's already interest in the 6,449-square-foot space Captain Al's occupied, Everson said. Besides the closed restaurant, there is only one other vacancy and that is a small area on the first floor, she said. That space became available when the owners of a leather goods store retired in May, she said.
Keith A. Ringelspaugh, the lawyer handling the eviction, said the city is asking for a judgment of the restaurant's possessions.
"The restaurant owes us rent until next year,'' said Ballestra, noting that Captain Al's lease does not expire until May 2011.
In August, the City Council voted to demolish the Pier and build a structure closer to shore. Construction is expected to begin in 2014.
Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 892-2283.