SATELLITE BEACH — Doubles Beachside, the popular Indian Harbour Beach restaurant and watering hole, will reopen inside a future building at the former site of Peg Leg’s, a long gone landmark Satellite Beach dining spot.
Tuesday night, the Satellite Beach Community Redevelopment Agency voted to sell the 1.2-acre property at the southwest corner of State Road A1A and Desoto Parkway to restaurant ownership for $600,000.
Doubles Beachside debuted in 1983 as a hoagie shop near South Patrick and Banana River drives. The eatery closed June 28, ending a 35-year run.
“It’s kind of interesting emotions for me. Because I worked there from ’74 to ’78 when it was Peg Leg’s, and that’s when I was in high school,” Doubles Beachside founder Ray Featherhoff said.
“I started working at Peg Leg’s, and that was my inaugural stepping into the restaurant industry. So for me, to go back to where I started is a full circle — back to the exact same lot where I started my restaurant career back in ’74,” Featherhoff said.
By early fall, construction may begin on a 5,500-square-foot restaurant with outdoor seating and a drive-thru, Certified General Contractors announced Thursday on Facebook. Total costs for the land and building may hit $2.5 million, Featherhoff estimated.
Crews will demolish the shuttered Doubles Beachside to clear room for a $7 million expansion by neighboring Zon Beachside Assisted Luxury Living. This expansion will add 25 assisted-living apartments, six memory care apartments, offices, a movie theater, a chapel, a multi-purpose ballroom, physical therapy rooms and an enclosed butterfly atrium.
The vanished Peg Leg’s restaurant building was built in 1963, opening as a pancake house near the dawn of NASA’s Apollo program. Peg Leg’s debuted there during the early 1970s. The seafood-steak restaurant changed owners — and names — multiple times during the 1990s; got battered by Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004; and fell to the wrecking ball alongside the blighted Corinthian Apartments in 2005.
In 2006, the Satellite Beach CRA purchased the property amid the Space Coast real estate boom for $1.53 million — a move that would prove politically controversial in later years.
City officials later conducted a dozen meetings with residents, many of whom opposed construction of a gas station or fast-food restaurant. Various development ideas emerged, such as a senior center, museum, park or medical facility, but none became reality. Ultimately, the parcel sat idle as a grassy lot for a dozen years.
The November-December 2017 edition of Beachcaster, the Satellite Beach City Hall newsletter, announced in a front-page story that a developer planned to buy the Peg Leg’s site for $550,000 and build Florida’s first solar-powered hotel.
Plans called for a ground-level upscale restaurant, 25 second-floor “boutique-style” hotel rooms, nine third-floor townhomes and a swimming pool.
Satellite Beach officials loved the “solar hotel” concept — but the deal fell through, CRA Administrator John Stone said.
“The idea was terrific. But it really had not been through a pro forma where they made sure it made financial sense to do it. So at the end of the day, we canceled the contract because they just couldn’t take it to that next level,” Stone said.
Afterward, a developer submitted a letter of intent to buy the land for $500,000 and build a neighborhood retail center featuring a bank with a drive-thru. CRA officials chose the Doubles Beachside offer instead.
Stone said the highest and best use of the Peg Leg’s site is a gas station — which neighbors did not want. Per contract, Doubles Beachside must incorporate a list of environmentally friendly construction and operating stipulations, and the eatery must provide 15 public parking spaces during special events
Featherhoff said numerous negotiations and details remain ongoing behind the scenes. He plans to help launch the new restaurant; “pass the torch” to Katie Mulvehill, his general manager, and her husband, Jacob; and then retire.
Featherhoff also targeted two potential sites along SR A1A in Satellite Beach and Indian Harbour Beach, but both were larger locations that required renovation and remodeling.