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Long pier owner alleges something fishy in Redington Shores

Bill DeYoung

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The bait stops here: Tony Antonious and the Redington Long Pier bait and tackle shop in December, 2018. Photo by Bill DeYoung

The Redington Long Pier, Pinellas County’s longest-lived wooden fishing structure, was taken apart plank-by-piling in May. The pier was deemed dangerously dilapidated by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection after extensive damage inflicted by 2017’s Hurricane Irma.

The pier may be gone, but the story continues. A lawsuit filed Sept. 14 in Pinellas County Circuit Court, by the pier’s owner Nashaat “Tony” Antonious against the Town of Redington Shores, alleges a “campaign” against him.

Antonious’ suit alleges “improper inspections, invalid liens, refusals of reasonable rezoning requests, and concerted action to prevent Plaintiffs from selling, rezoning, or repurposing their property.”

The suit also names nine current or former Town employees as defendants, and seeks $15,360,000 in damages.

In October 2019, Redington Shores commissioners voted 4 to 1 to deny a land-use change, required so that developers could build a 120-room, nine-story hotel on Antonius’ one-acre pier property, at 17490 Gulf Blvd.

“We submitted for a hotel,” Antonious told the Catalyst in May, “and they said that’s not compatible. So they want us to submit for condos.”

The property, Antonious’ attorney Michael Beltran said Thursday, is still zoned for recreational use.

But there’s no recreation to be had, and the property – the Redington Long Pier parking lot – is bookended on both sides by condominiums.

“It’s a valuable piece of property on the Gulf of Mexico,” Beltran said. “And he has been deprived of all economically feasible use of that valuable property.”

Several investors over the last few years, Beltran said, were interested in the land but were “kind of scared off or rejected by the Town of Redington Shores.

“So what we have is a parking lot, and that’s not good for the town, because they’re not collecting much in the way of tax from that parking lot. And it’s not good for the other local businesses, who don’t have more tourists or residents patronizing their business.

“And it’s obviously not good for the Antonious family, who were looking to the value of that pier for their retirement.”

The 1,200-foot wooden fishing pier was erected by developer Charles Redington in 1962. Antonious, an accountant who once unsuccessfully ran for Redington Shores mayor, bought the aging but still profitable structure in 1999, and operated it until it was shuttered 18 years later.

It was never easy, Antonious told the Catalyst in 2018. “I underestimated the expense needed to save it. 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.”

The Redington Long Pier, photographed Dec. 27, 2019. Photo by Bill DeYoung

 

 

 

 

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Kevin Kinne

    October 8, 2020at6:28 pm

    I used to love fishing the Pier every Saturday for many years. It used to be packed with anglers,but Tony gradually drove off all the regulars with his continuously rising admission prices and overall disrespect for his customers.

  2. Avatar

    M. Weaver

    October 9, 2020at5:50 pm

    As a beachfront property owner, this is great to have gone. The owner has been the only side shown here. The other side would be, the town asked him MULTIPLE times to do something about his dilapidated structure. The owner had the funds to keep the bridge in better condition. Many times parts of the pier would float in the ocean because it was in such poor shape. This owner wanted to build something that was NOT suitable for the area. He decided to play the delay game with the town and make the residence pay the price because of his greed.

  3. Avatar

    Kim Ramirez

    October 10, 2020at8:19 pm

    I’ve come to the pier many times over the years and have never had a problem with the owners. My family loved the views and it was worth the price for the many memories and good times. Overall loved the pier and Tony was always smiling and friendly to everyone I saw. Sad the pier is gone but glad I was able to enjoy it.

  4. Avatar

    Daniel R.

    October 10, 2020at9:21 pm

    What happened to responsible fact checking before commenting? I’m a long time customer of the pier for the past 10 years and have followed this story. The town had the opportunity to prevent all this by green lighting a renovation offer from developers, but the commissioner rejected it. This is all political games, and Tony and his family are the victims. If the town would have made the right choice, the Pier would still be standing today for loyal patrons to enjoy. We can never regain that history that was demolished because of political games.

  5. Avatar

    Tom B

    October 11, 2020at1:30 pm

    I agree with the owner. I worked there many years. Price went up becaue the cost to maintain the pier were tremendous. Every time the owner would come up with new revenue ideas the town would reject. Where can a family of 4 spend a day, bring all their food and drinks and spend 80$. The owners are the hardest working couple I ever met. SURE DO MISS IT, DO YOU?

  6. Avatar

    Cliff

    October 13, 2020at10:44 am

    Greed has overwhelmed our beaches. I dont go there much anymore. Clearwater Beach is like Seaside Heights in New Jersey.

  7. Avatar

    Corrin

    October 26, 2021at7:01 pm

    This makes me so sad😢 I was looking up a place to rent for the weekend to get away and thought, how nice it would be to go fish off the pier. I have some very good memories with my Dad fishing off this pier, who is no longer with us.

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