Capri Connection: Business isle subject of speculation

Ann Hall

When you are a small community, it doesn’t take long for residents to notice when something changes. People have begun to ask, “What’s going on with the stores and businesses adjacent to Kon Tiki Drive on our business isle?”

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The business isle is at the center of the four small islands joined by land bridges that make up a small, rural-like community where approximately 400 residents live full-time. The population swells to over 2,000 in season.

Painting by Nancy Plummer, former Isles of Capri resident of the Tarpon Bay General Store when it was in its prime.
The historic palm is removed from Capri Produce, a landmark of the former Tarpon Bay General Store.

To date the Capri Fisheries has closed, and the crabbers have vacated. All crab pots have all been removed along with most of the crabbers’ boats.

The sign that advertised vacant land for sale on some of the inland properties and one waterfront area is gone. Uncle Mickey’s Pizza and the real estate office that shared the building complex have closed, and it appears as though all interior contents have been removed.

Some trees and much foliage on both sides of Capri Boulevard near Kon Tiki Drive have been cleared. The tall Coconut Palm tree that grew out of the roof of Capri Produce has been removed.

“Well, it looks like something is happening with our little piece of paradise,” wrote Dan Sansevier to the Coconuttele, Capri’s informal email communication network.

“The commercial fishermen are gone. Does anyone know what's going on? I hope they don't ruin this great place in which we live and love so much!”

When the coconut palm tree was being removed from what is now Capri Produce, folks began to reminisce about what was once the Tarpon Bay General Store where people would gather for coffee and to solve the world’s problems sitting around a table next to the tree growing out of the roof of K Guengerich McKinney’s store.

What was once a busy Capri Fisheries is now vacant.
What was once Uncle Mickey’s Pizza and a real estate office have been vacated. Everything inside appears to have been removed.

“Paula’s fruit and veggie market, previously Kay and Lou’s General Store (to back it up further) … who remembers when it was the Solomon's hamburger stand? What a treat that was,” wrote long-time resident Betty Moenkhaus.

“I was away for three weeks and was surprised to see the swift clearing of the recently-purchased ‘downtown’ lots,” wrote Patty Meyers to the Coconuttele. “I'm sure we all agree our special island has never looked more beautiful. But, I'm concerned about exactly what will be replacing these picturesque views? I've heard nothing but rumors, and a vague description on the tele about an ‘exciting new development,’ or E.N.D. Why are we being kept in the dark about this E.N.D? Certainly, the developers who have touted the E.N.D know what the intended use will be. I believe our community has the right to be informed as to what exactly is happening with this vast acreage and how it will impact our community. Let's get some substantiated answers before we wake up one morning and find a new Hammock Bay rising up in our midst. Regards, Patty Meyers.”

There are no plans to share at this time. The owner(s) of the properties have said they wish to remain silent until they have confirmed with their developers what will follow. In the meantime, rumors abound, mostly by sheer speculation about what might be.

Because the properties that were once Capri Fisheries, Mickey’s Pizza, the real estate office, Capri Crab and Capri Produce all are located along the waterfront of Tarpon Bay, many speculate that the area may become another marina. Others are guessing that it might be a low-volume condo with small specialty shops underneath. Some say that perhaps there might be another restaurant of sorts, or a combination of all of the former speculations.

One thing for sure, the rumors won’t stop until the plan is revealed. As with most things, time will tell.

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