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‘Royal Key’ proposal gets P&Z approval

By Staff | Oct 6, 2010

The site of the former Eddie Fishbowls on Cape Coral Parkway could see new life as “Royal Key”, a bar and restaurant with patio seating that fronts the parkway.
Described by owner Michelle Sikora as catering to an “older crowd aged 28 – 70”, the bar would have a Key West theme, as exhibited in artist renderings.
The Planning and Zoning Commission approved the project 6 – 1 on Wednesday with the condition of a performance bond, former Chairman Gene Wolfe dissenting.
The project does not need to go before city council for approval.
The project may still have some hurdles, however.
The lender now has a lis pendens against Sikora and AIA Properties for a loan for their downtown holdings, including the building where Eddie Fishbowls was located; where San Sushi is located; where Su Casa Furniture Boutique is located; along with two parking lots, officials said.
A fifth piece, at 1231 Lafayette Street, also is involved.
The downtown Community Redevelopment Agency lent AIA Properties — and Sikora — more than $600,000 in 2006 for this final piece of land assemblage for a planned “boutique” style hotel, a project that never came to fruition.
The CRA received a mortgage and promissory note and also is looking at its legal options.
AIA Property LLC still owns the building where Royal Key could be housed and Sikora also previously operated “Martinis” in the same location prior to the attempt to build the hotel.
Sikora said she never “stole” the money, and there was “miscommunication” that has led to the property being in the process of foreclosure.
“When everything started to fall apart I wasn’t involved in it,” Sikora said.
CRA Planner Patrick White said the CRA’s attorneys are working to resolve the issue of the loan now.
CRA Executive Director John Jacobsen said a judgement of $658,506.54, less the fair market value of $130,000 on the building, recently was awarded.
“The CRA attorneys are working on resolving the financial position of the Sikoras and their ability to repay the loan,” Jacobsen said.
The CRA Board supported the Royal Key project last month during its regular meeting, with only Vice Chair Jim Martin dissenting.
Jacobsen said the board’s main concern was the project faltering mid stream, leaving a half-finished construction project facing one of the city’s busier roadways.
He added that if the Sikoras can make the location a viable, attractive destination in the CRA, it would benefit the downtown district.
“The board wanted to make sure it’s a definite improvement on what’s there,” he said. “As long as it gets built it’s a good thing. It will definitely improve the look.”
The prior success of Martinis was the reason Sikora felt another bar/restaurant would be in turn be successful, she said.
She also said the new establishment would be a financial lifeline after liquidating their real estate assets.
The building that houses what was once Eddie Fishbowls, and San Sushi Japanese Restaurant, is all she has left.
“We wanted to see if we could save this building and provide some steady income,” Sikora said.