After 44 years of partying at the beach, popular waterfront establishments Mickey Rat's Beach Club and Captain Kidd's Restaurant are closing for good by the end of this month.
But that doesn't mean the end of eating, drinking and fun in the water at the venerable Lake Erie site.
Led by Ellicott Development Co. CEO William Paladino, the new owners of the 4.26 acres along Lakeshore Road in Evans are planning to remake the lakefront land into a new waterfront destination. It will include plenty of entertainment, alongside new apartments and condominiums, Paladino said in an interview with The Buffalo News.
Paladino said they're going to have "multiple" restaurants and bars, as well as other complementary services for people coming out to visit. Most importantly for many people, the beach will still be open and accessible to the public, he added.
"That's the biggest thing we've heard, that we don't want you guys doing something that won't give people a reason to come there. We knew that from the beginning," Paladino said. "We expanded on that topic, because it was such a big thing that people were mentioning to us."
There will be two or three buildings or other structures erected on the site, with apartments and condos, as widely expected. Some will be rental, while others will be for sale. But it's not intended to be exclusive or closed-off, Paladino said.
"At one time, people thought we were going to create this high-end village, but that's not what we were ever looking to do," Paladino said. "We want people to be happy. We want the town officials to be happy. And we want a successful project at the end of the day."
The future of Mickey Rats and Captain Kidds became the subject of intense speculation last summer after owner Richi Alberts put it up for sale after four decades in his family. The combined club and restaurant has been a legendary waterfront entertainment destination in the Southtowns for generations of patrons, dating back to the 1940s, when over a dozen beach bars and establishments operated in that area, along with hundreds of waterfront cottages.
Paladino and the other new owners teamed up to buy the property at 8934 Lakeshore Road last November, paying $1.45 million to longtime former owner Richi Alberts, who was ready to retire. The group then leased it back to Alberts for one last summer of beach fun, which is expected to conclude this month. Mickey Rats has an end-of-summer party planned for Sept. 16, but may also hold a closing bash at the end of the month.
Speculation was rampant last year that the new owners would tear down the club and put up condos or a boutique hotel. But whatever plans the group had initially have evolved over the past year.
Paladino said the ownership group – known as Grandview Bay LLC – listened to what the public said, and "made a lot of alterations and modifications based on comments we've heard from people who live there."
"It's modified to where it's going to have a little bit for everybody out there when we're finished," Paladino said. "We're still going to have public access to the beach. We'll still provide reasons for people to come out there and enjoy their weekends and weeks, and give people some alternative living accommodations."
Besides Paladino, the new owners include attorney and judicial candidate Acea Mosey, the Castlebetre family, Joe Lombardo and Phil Tantillo.
Grandview Bay will likely be leasing some of the space to restaurant and bar operators, so they're still working on those details, he added. Any proposal for condominium sales must be submitted to the state in advance for approval before the units can be sold.
Formal plans will be submitted to the town in about three weeks, but Paladino said his team is refining its plans and working through new zoning rules in the town, Paladino said. He hopes to come to the town Planning Board in October.