ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — It still looks the same – dilapidated, storm-ravaged, abandoned and empty – but the former Santa Maria restaurant property is an important step closer to a new life as “The Wharf.”
Monday night, St. Augustine's city council approved a request to grant so-called “vested rights,” allowing the property’s current owner, the White family to build their planned one-and-a-half-story “Wharf” to the previous seating capacity of 156 inside and 42 outside without providing additional parking. Santa Maria and its predecessors that occupied the overwater property didn’t offer dedicated parking.
The White Family also owns St. Augustine establishments O.C. White’s, The White Room, and the Chatsworth Pub.
The council’s approval also allows the owners to erect a neon sign bearing the new name, similar to the deco-styled sign that once adorned the roof of the Santa Maria. The vested rights did not address noise concerns.