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October 15, 2013

Scanlon proposes eatery deal

Agreement would allow Black Cow restaurant to be built on waterfront

BEVERLY — Mayor Bill Scanlon is asking the City Council to approve a deal that would finally put a restaurant on the Beverly waterfront.

The agreement, which Scanlon sent to the council last week, calls for a 40-year lease between the city and restaurant owner Joseph Leone, who would build a Black Cow restaurant similar to the ones he runs in Hamilton and Newburyport.

Leone would knock down the former McDonald’s restaurant that has sat mostly vacant since it closed 20 years ago and spend $3 million to build a new restaurant.

Leone first proposed the plan six years ago, but it has been hung up by legal appeals filed by neighboring Beverly Port Marina.

The latest appeal, filed in the state Appeals Court in August of 2012, is still pending. Scanlon said he is seeking council approval now so that the restaurant can be built as soon as the court case is settled. The City Council’s legal affairs committee is scheduled to discuss the lease tonight at City Hall.

“The objective here is to have a lease ready to go, assuming the Appeals Court renders a favorable opinion, which we expect,” Scanlon said. “There were complicated negotiations to develop this lease, and we wanted to give the council adequate time to consider it.”

The contract calls for Leone to pay the city $30,000 per year, with adjustments for inflation, to lease the city-owned land where the restaurant would be constructed.

Scanlon said the restaurant would generate revenue beyond the lease when you factor in property taxes, meals taxes, parking meter revenue and boat slip rentals. The lease includes a stipulation that the first floor of the restaurant must be used for a “water-dependent use.”

“By the time we’re through, I think we’ll be bringing in a six-figure amount of money every year that will grow,” Scanlon said.

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