Grant Bendeich, Joe Spiteri
A LEASE dispute has closed a popular beachside restaurant and left 20 people jobless.
Ocean View served diners at Fingal Beach Surf Life Saving Club for nearly four years and its owners had hoped to sell the successful business.
But the surf club refused to extend the lease to either of the two buyersrestaurateurs Joe Spiteri and Grant Bendeich had found.
Club president Brett Woods said it was Mr Spiteri and MrBendeich’s choice not tostay on at the end of their lease. But Mr Woods declined to saywhy the board wouldn’t extend a lease to either of potentialbuyers.
“I’m not at liberty to hand out that information,” he said.
The Ocean View sale contract, signed in January, was nulled when a lease agreement could notbe made.
A secondbuyer was found and the sale contract was signed in May.But, the club again refused tolease the Ocean View spaceto the new buyer.
“We had two options,” Mr Spiteri said.“Either vacate at the end of our lease or successfully install a buyer.
“Despite contracts of sale being signed both times, ourcommitted purchaser was unable to secure a lease with the surf club prior to our vacating and clearance deadline.”
The stalemate has raised suspicions the club wishes to install a different restaurant operator altogether. ButMr Woods would only confirm thatthe club hadput the space out to tender.
“The people who put a tender in will need to show what they plan to do with it,” he said.
He also defended the club’s position in its dealings with the Ocean View owners.
“It’s been done all within the guidelines of a Crown Lands site, which is guidelines we abide by.”
Mr Spiteri and MrBendeich thanked their staff and the patrons that had helped make the business a success.
MrBendeich said he was thankful that he and Mr Spiteri were still “good mates” at the end of their business venture.
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