TREASURE ISLAND — Caddy's on the Beach has a new owner, who says the party at the controversial bar will continue.
SFMB Treasure Island Properties, which includes principals who own MacDinton's Irish Pub in Tampa and Yard of Ale in Tarpon Springs, has bought the widely known beach bar and restaurant for $7.2 million and say nothing is planned to disrupt the party atmosphere.
"It's an exceptional property, and we plan to continue as it is with a few upgrades," said owner Barry O'Connor.
Its large sandy beach where patrons enjoy cocktails in the sand has been a popular island spot for tourists and locals for years.
The sale was final April 16. Former longtime owner Tony Amico, who has had an ongoing legal dispute over property rights with the state, could not be reached for comment.
O'Connor, however, said he has been assured by Amico's attorney that his company's purchase of the property won't be affected by the suit.
"It's pretty much settled. I expect it will be by August," he said.
Amico had claimed that state officials reneged on a 2009 agreement over ownership of beachfront at his restaurant site. He sued a state trust fund in 2012 and this year asked the city of Treasure Island to support a possible sale of the property to the state as part of a settlement offer.
O'Connor said his group has been eyeing Caddy's for about three years and decided to buy it after being assured the dispute would not disrupt the sale.
Plans are to put in new restrooms, some bar equipment and more coolers, O'Connor said.
"It's already in the works, but it's probably going to take several months for all the permits to go through," he said.
Community improvement director Paula Cohen said she has been contacted by the general manager of Caddy's about improvements, but no plans have yet been submitted for the 9000 Gulf Blvd. restaurant.
O'Connor's group also owns the Kitchen, 226 First Ave. N, and Central Avenue Sports Bar in downtown St. Petersburg, the former site of the Garden.