MARGATE – After months trying to get the owner of Lamberti’s Sunset Marina and Restaurant to replace a 315-foot section of failing bulkhead fronting the Amherst Avenue property, time is running out, city officials have said.

The city wants to move forward with replacing the entire stretch of deteriorating bulkhead along Amherst Avenue as soon as possible. Two sections of city-owned bulkhead have already been rebuilt by developers of the old Capt. Andy’s Marina and Integrity Marine, saving the city nearly $1 million.

According to city officials, Luciano Lamberti leases the building from the city and is required to maintain the bulkhead as a condition of the lease. Lamberti was previously advised to start construction of the bulkhead by Sept. 14, but Lamberti has not responded to the city’s mandate.

On Thursday, Sept. 20, city officials agreed to ask city Solicitor John Scott Abbott to send Lamberti a letter informing him that he would be in default of his lease if he does not start construction of a new bulkhead or at least finalize engineering plans in the next 30 days.

The city is anxious to begin the bulkhead replacement and on Thursday, Aug. 16, awarded Arthur W. Ponzio Co. and Associates of Atlantic City a contract not to exceed $94,700 to survey, plan and design 1,250 feet of bulkhead, along with the street-side façade and capping that will make it attractive to pedestrians walking along the planned promenade.

The contract includes the $35,850 Lamberti already paid for Ponzio to design his portion of the bulkhead with the building razed. The bulkhead would be easier and less expensive to construct if the building were removed.

In March 2015, commission gave Lamberti the ok to demolish the bayfront restaurant and rebuilt it maintaining the building’s current footprint. At that time, city officials said if state and federal approvals were granted, Lamberti would be required to obtain a site plan approval from the Planning Board.

On Sept. 20, Administrator Richard Deaney said the city should ask Ponzio to design the bulkhead with the restaurant building still standing.

“If he doesn’t have a lease by next summer, we will have a new bulkhead. It might cost us a little bit more (to build) because we have the building up, but we will have building to lease to somebody else,” Deaney said. “We can’t give up our potential lease money for next year.”

The city plans to fund the bulkhead project through a bond ordinance that is up for a public hearing and vote on Thursday, Oct. 4. The bond ordinance appropriates $2,450,000 for the bulkhead replacement and various road programs. The bulkhead portion of the bond is $843,560. The public hearing will be held at 4 p.m.

This story has been revised from its original version.

Categories: Margate

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.