The City Council approved an appropriation of $295,000 from the Community Improvement Trust (CIT) Fund for public space improvements at the Tyde Restaurant which will open at 21 Revere Beach Boulevard at street level as part of the spectacular Ryder Apartments complex.
All but one councillor followed the strong recommendation of Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna to approve the appropriation. Councillor-at-Large Gerry Visconti was the lone councillor to vote against the appropriation. Ralph DeCicco, chair of the Revere Commission on Disabilities, said he supported Viscontiâ€™s vote.
McKenna recalled her first meeting with the developers of the project in explaining why she supported the appropriation. â€œBecause four years ago when they approached me and said they were going to build [the apartments], I wouldnâ€™t go along with it unless they put in a restaurant,â€ said McKenna. â€œI think that restaurant is going to be a staple for Revere Beach. Itâ€™s got indoor seating (120 seats) and outdoor seating (100 seats) and a beach bar, so people from the beach can order finger food items or a drink. The restaurant is going to be fantastic.â€
Councillor-at-Large Jessica Giannino said she supported her colleague in the venture.
â€œI know when Councillor McKenna first got elected, one of the first things she said was that she wanted to bring a restaurant to Ward 1 and we have the opportunity to bring a restaurant to Ward 1,â€ said Giannino. â€œThis is a great way to make the necessary improvements to the infrastructure â€“ the sidewalks get what is needed so they can put a nice, first-class restaurant on Americaâ€™s first public beach.â€
Bob Oâ€™Brien, director of community development who along with Mayor Brian Arrigo, has totally boosted the regional appeal of living in these luxurious, state-of-the-art Revere Beach properties, spoke in favor of the appropriation, commenting that, â€œIt [the restaurant] is going to be a wonderful project. There will be indoor and outdoor dining. Itâ€™s going to add a great deal of life to that end of the beach. All of the residents are really looking forward to it. The first question people would ask is: Is there going to be a restaurant?â€
Oâ€™Brien credited McKenna for her crucial support of the project from the outset. â€œA good deal of the credit goes to the ward councillor [McKenna], who has been supporting the idea of a restaurant at this location literally from Day 1,â€ said Oâ€™Brien.
Council President Anthony Zambuto voted in favor of the appropriation, but he expressed some concerns about the precedent it might set with CIT appropriations.
â€œMy real concern here is – I understand the Administrationâ€™s point of view and the developerâ€™s point of view – in my opinion accurate what happened in the pandemic and what happened to try to entice a restaurant coming into that place at this time,â€ said Zambuto. â€œMy biggest fear is that weâ€™re going to set some type of precedent with the CIT money. If I eventually vote for this, itâ€™s going to be with the stipulation that this is not a precedent-setting event. This is a one-off thing that happened in a pandemic. This restaurant is built and itâ€™s going to be a wonderful restaurant.â€
Visconti said the appropriation of $295,000 could have been spent â€œin other areas of Ward 1. Iâ€™ve been having a difficult time trying to wrap my head around reimbursing the developer (Redgate Founder and Principal Damian Szary appeared via Zoom at the Ways and Means subcommittee meeting when the issue was discussed) for costs overruns as well as the buildout for the restaurant that was agreed upon by the ward councillor, the administration, as well as the developer.
â€œThe fact that you [Szary] have complied and kept your word in terms of providing a restaurant speaks volumes to the developerâ€™s reputation. The problem I have is the cost overruns of creating this restaurant is between the developer and the restaurant owner. I personally feel the city should be kept out of it and this is no disrespect to the ward councillor. It feels as though Iâ€™m on an island by myself here and thatâ€™s fine,â€ said Visconti.
Szary refuted Viscontiâ€™s remarks about the appropriation being â€œa reimbursement to the developer.â€
â€œJust to clarify, these funds are not going to Redgate,â€ said Szary. â€œThey are going directly to the contractor doing the physical work in order to make these public space improvements. And as it relates to your comment on cost overruns, this was not an unforeseen cost overrun, something that the developer missed. That wasnâ€™t missed. This was actually a pre-negotiated deal.â€
What is the Community Improvement Trust (CIT) Fund?
Category: Economic Development & Planning The Community Improvement Trust Fund (CITF) was established to provide mitigation funds to the City of Revere for projects where the applicant requested a special permit or variance to increase the intensity of use beyond the use by right. Funds received by a development can then be expended on infrastructure and public facilities improvements directly impacted by the project. All expenditures of the CIT must be approved by a majority vote of the Revere City Council.