Lemon Bar, Seahorse Oceanfront Inn to be sold to Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s investment group
NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. — A beloved bar and hotel in Neptune Beach is about to be sold to Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s investment group.
“The locals love it,” said Lemon Bar employee Jacquelyn Charo. “I haven’t heard one person in Jacksonville who hasn’t heard of Lemon Bar and even people who don’t live in Jacksonville, like, ‘Oh, I know where that’s at!’”
The purchase of the Seahorse Oceanfront Inn, Lemon Bar and “nearby properties,” will mark Iguana Investments Florida LLC’s first Northeast Florida property investment “beyond the scope of downtown” Jacksonville and the Shipyards, according to a release from the Jaguars.
The owners of the inn and bar, Kathy Cole, son Will and daughter Emma, first met with Iguana Investments in March about selling the property “to a party with the appropriate financial resources and commitment to ensuring a promising future for the popular Beaches Town Center destination,” the release said.
Kathy Cole said the following of signing a letter of intent to sell the properties to Iguana:
“This is a bittersweet day for our family. We poured much of our heart and soul into the Seahorse Oceanfront Inn over the past many years, and we’ve certainly enjoyed the journey knowing the properties have meant so much to the Jacksonville community. Now it’s time to pass the torch, and we’re really happy to see these properties going into the right hands with Shad Khan and Iguana Investments. I have no doubt they will do the right thing for the viability and success of the property well into the future.”
Khan said the following of the pending sale:
“I have great faith in the future of Jacksonville, from downtown to the beaches and all the neighborhoods in between. I’ve always appreciated the unique vibe of the Beaches Town Center community and it means a lot to me to play a small role in the community’s continued growth, just as we are with the development of Jacksonville’s downtown riverfront. None of this would be possible without the faith of Kathy Cole and her children Will and Emma. They’ve all been instrumental in bringing life to Neptune Beach, and I thank them for their confidence in the ability of our Iguana group to help realize their goals and a promising future for our entire region.”
Khan said in the release that while plans for the property are still in development, he envisions that it will be consistent with what exists today – a boutique beach hotel, restaurant, parking and other public amenities.
Charo told Action News Jax she’s been working at Lemon Bar for the past year.
“I’ve worked in the restaurant business since high school and this is probably my favorite area,” she said. “You get to be outside. Management is wonderful. The owners, everyone takes really good care of their employees.”
She also said she’s worked for the Jaguars’ food department, and that from her experience, the same principle applies.
“[The Jaguars] are very supportive and they’re there for you no matter what position you’re in from the lowest to the top and they’re always very welcoming with open arms,” she emphasized.
This is why she thinks this will be a perfect match.
“I think it’s a great thing. From my understanding and from meeting [Shad Khan], he’s a really nice down-to-earth guy and he really supports local businesses,” she shared. “He’s big on anything local food-wise or just supporting the community that he’s a part of. I could see it being a fairytale ending for both sides of the fence.”
The Jaguars said that Iguana Investments will engage with stakeholders in the Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach and Beaches Town Center community as the transaction proceeds through the necessary inspections and due diligence. Following the closing of the sale, Iguana intends to hire a management company to maintain the operations of all properties as they currently exist. Terms and Conditions of the sale agreement are confidential and will not be disclosed, the Jaguars said in the release.
Written and published by: Jessica Barreto, Action News Jax