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Quail Valley club paid $3.5 million for Royal Palm site

STORY BY MICHELLE GENZ (Week of November 13, 2014)
Photo: Rendering of new Quail Valley restaurant and hotel

Steve Mulvey, whose grandparents were once co-owners of the Brooklyn Dodgers, remembers when the end of what is now Royal Palm Pointe was home to the Sea Gull Motel and Marina. Today it’s not sea gulls but Quail claiming the prized waterfront spot.

Last week, Mulvey and his Quail Valley Club partner Kevin Given closed on the one-acre property, ending speculation on the future of the site of the recently closed Lobster Shanty restaurant: other than the occasional charity event, their proposed hotel and restaurant will be restricted to use by club members and their guests, and not be available to the public at large.

According to Mulvey and Given, multiple dining and lodging options will make Quail Valley “one of the most unique clubs in the state of Florida.”

The pair intends to tear down the old Lobster Shanty restaurant to build a 16-room lodge and restaurant. Its proposed granite and wood façade is “something you’d see in Newport, Rhode Island, or Nantucket,” he says, reeling off two ultra-affluent destinations sure to be familiar to the membership of Quail Valley.

Assuming that the Vero Planning and Zoning Board gives its approval following a hearing Dec. 4, Given says groundbreaking should begin in February with the project completion date set for early 2016.

While refusing to say what Quail paid for the property, Given disputed quotes from Lobster Shanty management that the New Jersey brothers who owned the property, as well as Mr. Manatee and another Lobster Shanty in Cocoa Beach, were made an offer they couldn’t refuse.

But the state documentary stamp tax paid on the real estate transaction indicate a purchase price of about $3.5 million.  The 1.02 acre property is listed with the property appraiser’s office at $1.4 million fair market value, with the land valued at $888,000. The last appraisal shown was in December 2012.

Until last Monday, a confidentiality clause in the sales contract precluded their speaking publicly. At the same time, they said they were puzzled at the amount of interest the purchase has caused. “We laughed at first,” Given says. “We wondered, what is all the buzz about?”

At one point, one news outlet editorialized that the pair might buy the city-owned park and interactive fountain next door. “Breaking news: We are not interested in buying the fountain,” Given joked last week. 

Mulvey and Given were unaware that the park and fountain, which is blocked from public view by a restroom complex and hedges, was even operational. “Hasn’t it been broken for the past year or two?” Mulvey asked. (According to the city parks department, it was shut down for a week several months ago, and has otherwise functioned normally.)

Nor are the investors concerned that Royal Palm Pointe has not become the destination planners once envisaged when they tried to turn what used to be the causeway of the drawbridge to the barrier island into a shopping and office cul-de-sac. Instead, they believe their project will have a ripple effect on the rest of the road.

It was only four months ago that Mulvey and Given began to look for a third destination for Quail’s 800 members to use. Currently, the club has a golf course with a clubhouse serving breakfast and lunch on the mainland west of 66th Avenue, and its River Club and marina has fine dining with views of the Indian River Lagoon south of Central Beach. Mulvey hopes a water taxi will one day run between the two dining destinations.  Dockage will also be available at Royal Palm Pointe.