After being postponed several weeks, Dewey Beach Lions Club voted March 7 to grant Highway One a seven-year lease on the Northbeach property.
Representing the Lions Club board, lawyer Rob Gibbs said proposals submitted by Highway One Group and The Waterfront partners were both excellent. “The Lions Club is trying to fulfill its mission, which comes down to financial superiority,” Gibbs said. “It was more acceptable and a better financial arrangement with Highway One.”
Gibbs said Highway One owns property adjacent to Northbeach, which could benefit the Lions Club when the lease expires. At that time, he said, the Lions Club could possibly expand its footprint. “The board decided it was best for the longterm and for its ability to fund its mission,” Gibbs said, and noted the property would not be changed significantly other than some cosmetic improvements.
Dewey Mayor and past King Lion TJ Redefer said the vote was about 60-30 in favor of Highway One. “No matter who we selected, it was a win-win situation for the Lions Club,” Redefer said. “We were truly blessed both offered more money than we currently receive, so from that perspective, we couldn’t be more thankful.”
Redefer said the club spends about $180,000 a year in charitable giving. The extra income will allow the club to help more people in need, he said.
The Starboard owner Steve Montgomery said his proposal was to bring back the name The Waterfront Fish House and Beach Bar. “We are very proud of what we presented and how we presented it,” Montgomery said. “We did not look at this as us competing against our friends at Highway One for the lease; instead we wanted to offer the Lions organization an option to go in a different direction.”
Montgomery said the restaurant scene in Dewey has been growing each year. “We have an operation on the waterfront in Baltimore named Nick’s Fish House,” Montgomery said. “We had plans to bring much of that menu with crabs and seafood to the Lions property had we been chosen, along with significant upgrades to the building, dock and parking areas.”
Montgomery said Lions members he spoke with said both offers were very good for different reasons, which made the choice difficult.
Highway One Group President Alex Pires declined to comment.