Grand Pier owners agree to turn SeaQuarium into 'special concept' restaurant
- Credit: Archant
The owners of the Weston's Grand Pier have agreed a deal to take over the lease on the town's SeaQuarium with plans to turn it into a 'special concept' restaurant and café.
North Somerset Council, which owns SeaQuarium, welcomed the deal after it reported the landmark had racked up arrears totalling £116,560 and has sat vacant since March 2019.
Kerry Michael, representing AGM Holdings, is expected to complete the deal later this week through a lease assignment - pledging around £1.5million to transform the site into a 'restaurant and café, with a twist'.
Mr Michael has owned the Grand Pier alongside his sister, Michelle, since 2008.
The authority's executive for economy, Mark Canniford, has told people to expect something that will be 'a unique experience',
Cllr Canniford said: "Without being able to reveal too much, what I can say is that Mr Michael has proposed plans for something a bit more special than a standard restaurant and café.
"If the deal does go ahead then the Michael family are in the best position to maintain the property, given their success with the iconic Grand Pier.
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"With the coronavirus pandemic, not many places in the UK have a businessman like Kerry Michael willing to invest this much into an area.
"There is a buzz in the town, the council also has further plans for the Birnbeck Pier and the Marine Lake - we need to keep up this momentum."
In 1995, the council had let the property to Seaquarium Ltd on a 99-year lease.
As agreed in the deal with AGM Holdings, the current debt will be wiped by the council and a two-year rent-free period will be granted to the new tenants.
Mr Canniford also revealed that prior to Mr Michael's proposal, the council had turned down a deal to turn the property into an 'adult gaming centre'.
The council's deputy leader, Mike Bell has also expressed his 'delight' at the proposed 'concept eatery'.
Cllr Bell said: "This is a win-win situation for Weston. We get a derelict building brought back to life, a new concept eatery on the seafront and new jobs.
"The decision from the council side should be signed off this week and it will then be subject to contracts.
"The council is grateful for the continued commitment to Weston shown by the Michael family in this long-term deal."