New owner of Captain John’s Restaurant says he’s ready to move the ship but he requires court approval first.
The new owner of Captain John’s Restaurant says he’s ready to move the ship from the foot of Yonge St. in as little as a week, but he requires court approval first.
Entrepreneur James Sbrolla also needs a major concession, which is outside the Federal Court’s control — approval to move the ship just a few blocks away from the foot of Yonge St. to a Parliament St. slip.
That’s where James Sbrolla’s temporary partner and, he hopes, the future owner of the ship, Priestly Demolition, is in the midst of work on the old Victory Soya Mills silo.
“I had hoped to move it today (Friday), but I have no control over the court,” said Sbrolla in a telephone interview. “We have a location to bring it to where we can commence some of the environmental work (the ship contains asbestos) and some of the historical preservation (removing items of value) before we commence demolition in the water.”
A port authority spokesperson says its still working with Sbrolla, “and any other parties interested in purchasing and removing the ship from the TPA’s slip” where the former floating restaurant has been tied up for decades.
It was shut down two years ago by the city because owner “Captain” John Letnik owes almost $2 million in back taxes, berthing fees and mortgages on the rusting relic.
It was sold to Sbrolla in a court-ordered auction for $33,501, with the stipulation it be removed by Aug. 22. Sbrolla missed both the Aug. 7 payment and move deadlines but has been working tirelessly to find partners, like Priestly.
“Until the logistics are worked out, we cannot request a new court date,” said TPA spokesperson Erin Mikaluk via email.
A group of Boston-area investors, who decided at the 11th hour not to bid on the ship, have done a rethink and are working on a counter offer and negotiating for a docking site outside of Toronto.
Sbrolla’s plan, in partnership with Priestly — which is far better known for building demolition than ship scrapping — is to have crews and equipment already in location at the silo, tear apart as much of the ship as possible at the foot of Parliament St.
That site, he says, is privately owned and Priestly already has approval to use it.
Tugs would then haul the shell to a scrapper for final demolition.
“This is a five-step process and you’re asking me about the final step,” said Sbrolla, when asked the final destination of the ship for scrapping. “We have a number of possibilities.”
“We’re in a position to finalize the purchase of the ship and act in very short order. I’ve been trying to work collaboratively with the port authority through their legal counsel. But if we can’t sort this out (moving the ship to Parliament temporarily) my assumption is this will be back to square one.”
That means the whole issue would go back to court to decide whether to look for a new buyer, or take another look at the second bidder, veteran ship scrapper Wayne Elliott.
He offered to tow the ship and demolish it, but at a cost to the port authority of $303,000.
Source: the star. 30 August 2014