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Demolished: The Redington Long Pier passes into history

Bill DeYoung

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Hired by the Department of Environmental Protection, contractors remove the 58-year-old Redington Long Pier Monday. Photo: Facebook

Demolition of the Redington Long Pier is nearly complete, the latest volley in a contentious battle between the owner of the historic structure and the Redington Shores Town Commission.

The 1,200-foot wooden fishing pier, built by developer Charles Redington in 1962, was deemed unsafe by Florida Department of Environmental Protection in 2007.

Repairs were made at that time, and the structure remain opened for business. But wind and weather tore away at it, leading owner Tony Antonius to voluntarily shut the pier down after 2017’s Hurricane Irma dealt the death blow.

In October 2019, the commission voted 4 to 1 to deny a land-use change, required so that developers could build a 120-room, nine-story hotel on the pier property, at 17490 Gulf Blvd.

The land use would have changed from recreation open space to resort facility.

The bait stops here: Tony Antonious and the Redington Long Pier bait and tackle shop – the 1,000 feet of pier beyond this point is closed. (2018 photo and caption by Bill DeYoung)

Antonius still owns the property, a one-acre parking lot. “We submitted for a hotel,” Antonius said Tuesday morning, “and they said that’s not compatible. So they want us to submit for condos.”

The pier, meanwhile, continued to crumble and fall, board by board, into the Gulf of Mexico. Although the structure was privately owned, it was technically on state land (Antonius paid $6,000 annually in “water lease” fees).

In December, DEP began to solicit bids for its demolition.

“We tried our best,” Antonius said. “And we got somebody who wanted to save it – I had a developer who wanted to spend $21 million to develop the area, and make it a two-story pier. I don’t know how they can pass up something like that.”

In 2018, Antonius – a tax accountant – told the Catalyst he and several investors purchased the pier and property in 2000 for $1.5 million.

“I underestimated the expense needed to save it,” he said at the time. “I thought once I fixed the pier, everything was going to be fine. But it was constant construction. I kept taking loan after loan after loan. I put in everything I had – and my close friends and clients’ money, too.”

A spokeswoman for the Redington Shores Town Commission declined to comment for this story.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Yvonne Heyliger

    May 5, 2020at6:35 pm

    Very sad!

  2. Avatar

    Bruce Gorman

    May 6, 2020at7:49 am

    Truly sad. I grew up fishing on that pier and have great memories. A great landmark of the beach is gone forever.

  3. Avatar

    ERIC RIKANSRUD

    May 7, 2020at6:17 am

    Ernie Torock Is rolling in his grave . Sad he loved that pier!

  4. Avatar

    Patricia Bibb

    May 7, 2020at8:29 am

    Very sad…great landmark…fished there many times and my husband came down in vacations as a kid and fished off that pier before we moved here…as some say sometimes…good things must come to an end….😞

  5. Avatar

    David Shepard

    May 7, 2020at9:55 am

    Fished off that pair since I was a little kid. Too bad it couldn’t have been saved.

  6. Avatar

    Food Rush

    May 10, 2020at8:59 pm

    If Tony and his wife had taken care of the pier and ran it like it should have been, it might have survived the storm better and could have been fixed again. I grew up on that pier basically and fished it my whole life. Helped to maintain it and work on it before Tony took it over and ran it down. If he’d taken the money he overcharged everyone and put it back into the maintained and repairs…smh…It’s sad to see it gone.

  7. Avatar

    Alton Spurgeon

    May 19, 2020at9:08 pm

    Have been driving from South Carolina to fish on the pier since 1994. Have watched it deteriorate since the current owner took over and charged extra to fish at the end of the pier. We stopped fishing on the pier s few years ago because we felt it was unsafe. Very sad.

  8. Avatar

    Cheryl DeLuca

    May 30, 2020at6:42 am

    My family vacationed here every year as I grew up. Met my husband here when I was 10 and would have loved to renew my marriage vows there for our 35th….I always came back to see it because it held so many memories for me. It was a very special place. So sad. No reason to go to Redington Shores anymore 😢

  9. Avatar

    Stuart Sharp

    June 22, 2020at5:16 pm

    The end of an era! As Brits we have been frequenting this lovely strip since 1991. Desperately sad to see the pier go; our three sons grew up enjoying its pleasures of fishing (and more recently the odd beer) in the Gulf of Mexico sunshine virtually every year. In their 30’s now they too will be downcast about this news.

  10. Avatar

    Alisson L Jalil

    June 6, 2021at11:45 am

    I’m devastated at the loss of this historic structure. I’ve been fishing on that pier since en utero with my parents. Grew up jumping off my cousins boats into the Gulf & swimming ashore only to learn many years later while dating my husband just how close those big ol’ Bull sharks came into shore in very shallow waters I swam right through. Generations of our family grew up together with delightful memories on that pier! But it was getting really dangerous rotting away, my foot went through a rotted wood plank section not once, but twice. I was hoping the city would’ve been smart enough to get grants & purchased & built an entire new pier for the public to enjoy. Perhaps, there’s still hope!
    “The God’s do not deduct from mans alloted span the hours spent fishing “

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