Time is right for Santa Maria Restaurant reconstruction

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Property owner David White told Historic City News that he and his family are excited about the opportunity to demolish the old Santa Maria Restaurant and construct a new two-story restaurant to be named White’s Wharf.

White, who grew up in St Augustine, has been credited with restoration, rehabilitation and construction on his landmark bayfront properties that include A1A Ale Works in the 1 King Street building, as well as The White Room, Villa Blanca, and O.C. Whites restaurant.

Tonight, during the regular meeting of the St Augustine City Commission, White’s attorney, Ellen Avery-Smith, will ask for a city determination of “vested rights” to complete the development in accordance with previously effective laws, ordinances and regulations.

The property has been used as a restaurant for decades. Provisions for zoning, parking, utilities and other land development requirements were not in effect when the site was first developed. Avery-Smith says that her clients just want to clarify that the city understands that the new owners have vested rights; and, it would be unfair to make the restaurant conform to today’s regulations, since it was already there before the regulations existed.

White secured the necessary approval to demolish the old building in November 2015, and later received a Certificate of Appropriateness for the project from the city’s Historic Architectural Review Board. White said that he hopes this final document will clear the way for the work to actually get started.

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