Waterfront property in New Port Richey back on the market 15 years after fire destroyed popular restaurant

The Leverock's restaurant in New Port Richey never reopened after a fire in August 2003. The site sold last month to a buyer who paid $1.5 million. FILE PHOTO
The Leverock's restaurant in New Port Richey never reopened after a fire in August 2003. The site sold last month to a buyer who paid $1.5 million. FILE PHOTO
Published June 12 2018
Updated June 12 2018

NEW PORT RICHEY — It has been nearly 15 years since fire destroyed the popular New Port Richey restaurant Leverock’s on a key piece of waterfront real estate on U.S. 19. After the blaze, the property was owned by a man who went to prison in April on federal fraud charges.

The pharmacy fraud case of Nicholas Borgesano Jr. ended with him getting a 15-year prison sentence. The U.S. Marshal’s Service — which handled several Borgesano properties — is putting the Leverock’s property up for sale following an April 27 final order for forfeiture issued to the federal government.

New Port Richey City Manager Debbie Manns is excited about getting the 9,000-square-foot, long-vacant building on the market.

"I consider the property to be a valuable piece, both in respect to its specific location and because its re-use may very well fill a void in the current market," Manns wrote in an email to the Tampa Bay Times.

Borgesano’s NB Investment Enterprises bought the property in 2015. He later went to prison after an investigation by federal agencies found that he and six others bilked Medicare and TRICARE out of $100 million. Borgesano, 45, admitted using his A to Z Pharmacy in New Port Richey, and other establishments in Florida, to submit false and fraudulent reimbursement claims for prescription-compounded medications, according to federal documents.

As a result of the case, the federal government seized properties he owned in Pasco County, including the Leverock’s property at 4927 U.S. 19, near Marine Parkway and the Gulf Harbors neighborhood.

There is work to do on the property, however, after years of neglect and vandalism. Manns said the property’s realtor, Colliers International, has been in contact with the city regarding landscaping matters such as overgrowth, dead trees, debris, removal of docks and fencing.

"Its redevelopment will lend much to the city’s revitalization goals for that portion of U.S. 19, and the city routinely fields requests about the property, so I am certain that there is interest in the re-use of the property," Manns wrote.

The U.S. Marshal’s Service, through its real estate broker, will complete a title search, resolution of any title issues and an appraisal, according to U.S. Marshal’s spokeswoman Lynzey Donahue.

The Pasco Property Appraiser’s Office has the property valued at $1.3 million.

Net proceeds of a sale would go the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund, which provides funding for the federal government to conduct its forfeiture program. Donahue wrote in an email to the Times that any liens on the property will be settled "at or before closing on the property, as per typical real property sale transactions."