However, during the due diligence phase, the building was inspected by a structural engineer and two contractors. According to CRA Redevelopment Project Manager Kimberly Vazquez, all drew the same conclusion – it would be more cost effective to demolish the current structure and do ground-up construction of a new shell for restaurant use. The estimated cost to build just a shell was over $1 million.

As a result, CRA staff decided it would be better to find a developer/restaurant operator who could partner with the CRA on the construction of the site. In May 2022, the CRA issued a solicitation for proposals. When the solicitation period closed in September 2022, one proposal was received from Palm 78.

A development agreement is being negotiated with Palm 78. Once it is finalized, it will be brought to the CRA Board for approval.

The Palm 78 team has proposed a long-term ground lease with rent ($83,000) starting in the third year, and an option to purchase within five years after the restaurant’s opening.

The CRA’s redevelopment of the Old Town area as an arts and entertainment district has attracted other restaurants, including South PMP Bar & Kitchen, which is about to open, and soon-to-be-constructed Papamigos.

“It’s an exciting time,” said Joseph. “We’re excited about coming to this area and making an impact.”

Go to Source