"The Dockside was a waterfront bar on the city pier catering to what we can kindly call a 'subculture' frequented by yours truly, the late Joe Savitch and his entourage and assorted hard-digging and drinking pirates who purportedly scratched for illegal shellfish in the dark of night.Not only did this move rid the city of a viable tax producing waterfront business, but we now know that the land is a brownfield site that will cost the city $1-3.5 million dollars to clean before anything new can be built.
The fitfully raucous joint teetered on the water's edge, far enough not to infringe on the public's right to serenity. Patrons feeling their oats sometimes leapt from the roof into the river accompanied by moonlight and cathartic, blood curdling war cries. Now and then the pirates had a beef that led to fisticuffs. But the Dockside paid its taxes, contributing its share for public schools and infrastructure.
Along came the nearby Point Gloria condo development. If memory serves well, some said at the time that developers Robert and James Karam approached the administration of Mayor Carlton Viveiros saying they wanted the land for possible adjunct development as a marina or motel. So the Dockside, against the wishes of the owners, patrons and probably assessors who hate to erode the tax base, was acrimoniously taken by eminent domain and demolished. The Redevelopment Authority now has the land.
If that's the way it went down, it was arrogant and unproductive. It sunk a taxpaying business and expunged property from the tax rolls. That was about 20 years ago and the site hasn't yielded a cent in taxes since.
In essence, it gave the Karams control of the land via options without liability or paying taxes. Now, said Ken Fiola, executive vice president of the city's economic development office, the Karam option has ceased and nobody has first dibs on the land -- including himself as rumor would have it. But it still isn't producing tax revenue. "
And where did the Karam's go? I am guessing they lost interest in the site when the possibility of a huge brownfield clean-up bill faced them.
With the renewed discussions of the state pier "revitalization," hopefully the city/Mayor Correia will not make the same mistake they did with the city pier by allowing the Karams to have a hand in any pier projects. Keep in mind that the Karams are Correia campaign contributors and Bob is very honorable when it comes to repaying his supporters.