Tenants ordered out of Ocean Mall
in Riviera Beach

RIVIERA BEACH What's left of the Ocean Mall on Singer Island will face the wrecking ball in mid-April, although some tenants still have time on their leases, an official at Catalfumo Construction and Development said today.

Joey Eichner, a company senior vice president, said that tenants were notified last month of the demolition plans. Those tenants with expired leases must vacate the mall by March 31, while the company continues to negotiate with businesses with active leases.

But tenants like Barbara Bartley believe they should have been given more time to leave. Bartley, who has an expired lease, said she's unsure about her future.

"When you've been a tenant some place for 12 years, you deserve more than 31 days notice," said Bartley, owner of Singer Island Boutique and Gifts.

Bartley, 78, said she's having to sell her stock of swim suits and other beach items at reduced costs to scale down her inventory. So far, she hasn't found a place to relocate.

Eichner, meanwhile, said that Bartley was the only tenant who hasn't met with Catalfumo officials regarding her lease. Tenants have known for a while that the mall's days were numbered, he said.

After years of debate, Catalfumo entered into a contract in December 2006 with the city to redevelop the aging mall. Built in the early 1970s, the mall has had few renovations and has dwindled to less than 15 tenants.

Catalfumo plans to replace it with 60,000 square feet of shops and restaurants. The new Ocean Mall, located on 11 acres of city-owned beachfront, should be completed by May 2009, Eichner said.

However, Catalfumo's initial construction plan has changed. Tenants at the south end were to continue to operate, while the northern section was rebuilt.

The northern section was torn down in July 2006 after former lease holder Andrew Brock was forced to do so by the city. The two northern buildings were deemed derelict after being damaged by Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne.

Catalfumo, meanwhile, bought the 50-year lease from Brock a month later for $9.5 million. The builder had 16 years remaining on the lease, which Brock entered into with the city in 1972.