Flagler restaurant faces demolition after ‘irreparable damages’ from hurricanes Ian, Nicole

The fish camp restaurant will be razed at end of February

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – Bull Creek Fish Camp restaurant in Flagler County will be torn down at the end of February after suffering “irreparable damages” from Hurricane Ian and Nicole, according to a news release from the county.

The restaurant, part of Bull Creek Campgrounds, was flooded with more than a foot of water that stood inside of building for nearly a month, officials said.

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“The costs necessary to fully restore the structure to its before-damage condition exceeds 50% of the structure’s valuation (excluding the valuation of the land) before the damage occurred,” County Administrator Heidi Petito told the Board of County Commissioners by email last week. “The basis for this determination includes, but is not limited to, structural, mechanical, and electrical damage.”

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Inspectors said they found numerous issues at the restaurant, which was constructed in 1997, including:

  • Exterior high-water mark 3 feet above grade
  • Could not verify “load path connection” at the slab
  • Walls and structural wood posts were black, some soft and deteriorated from water damage
  • Uneven flooring
  • Sagging overhead beams
  • Filth from both flood waters and septic backup
  • Wiring impossible to inspect
  • Host of other problems that, in short, are “substantial deficiencies throughout the structure.”

County officials said the building’s age and construction was considered, including wood frame on wooden piles, which is not eligible for repair to current building code.

Demolition and replacement of the structure would be required, according to the release. Conservative estimates for new construction of a 2,800 square foot building are around $1.8 million.

Longtime restaurant in Flagler County to be torn down after 'irreparable damages' from hurricanes

Flagler County officials said it conducted an independent inspection because the tenant wanted to clean and reopen the facility at his own expense. The county said it also researched whether the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would have resources or funding to address the damages and mitigate future issues.

“It was determined that no funding would be available through DEM or FEMA, and that our current insurance policy does not cover flooding,” Petito said. “This facility is a non-conforming structure that sits in the floodplain, and is ineligible for flood insurance.”

Flagler County said it assigned the original lease to a new tenant in September 2022, Domenech Base Inc., which asked that two months rent be waived to allow time to prepare the restaurant to reopen and credit documented remedial costs for work undertaken toward future rent.

Repairs were halted when Hurricane Ian hit, and early in October provided an additional two months for work to be completed, according to officials. Hurricane Nicole struck on Nov. 10.

Bull Creek Fish Camp restaurant to be torn down after suffering irreparable damages from Hurricanes Ian and Nicole (Flagler County)

County officials said they met with the tenant on Jan. 18 and offered to allow a food truck with a screened in pavilion, which was declined.

The tenant will be reimbursed for materials with accompanying receipts that were damaged by the storms, according to the release.

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About the Author:

Jacob joined ClickOrlando.com in 2022. He spent 19 years at the Orlando Sentinel, mostly as a photojournalist and video journalist, before joining Spectrum News 13 as a web editor and digital journalist in 2021.