Port Canaveral buys out 'underutilized' waterfront property

Port takes over remaining lease in Cove district

By James Sparvero - Reporter

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. - Canaveral Port Authority commissioners Wednesday voted to buy out the last four years of a lease of prime property in the Port's Cove district.

The 825-foot section includes an eyesore of vacant property and derelict shrimping boats, but also waterfront restaurants that pay subleases, including Fishlips, which pays $250,000 in rent every year.

"I feel like someone out of state has been making a great income off this property for years," one commissioner said during Wednesday's meeting.

For 30 years, the land was leased from the Port. In the last decade, the Port said it became poorly maintained and underutilized.

"After all the investment we made in the parking area and the lighting, to have that area look the way it looks is pretty bad," Port CEO Capt. John Murray said.

The property has 120 parking spots for cars.

At times, it's provided parking for SpaceX's barge, the famous Of Course I Still Love You drone ship that rocket boosters land on in the ocean.

The Port said it needs the dock space for active boats.

"It could be tugboats, could be the supply boats that support SpaceX, could be fishing vessels, could be any number of small craft," Murray said about what the waterfront will be used for.

The Port CEO said one of the old shrimp boats nearly collided with a Navy dock on the other side of the channel during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

The Port said it talked with all the restaurant subtenants and everyone was OK with the approved $1.9 million transaction.

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