The former Julian’s is the future site of a gift shop.
Like a senior citizen filled with memories, the former Julian’s Dining Room and Lounge stands silent, seemingly reflective, as the world rushes past on State Road A1A.
Located a bit south of Granada Boulevard at 88 S. Atlantic Ave., the empty building with the A-frame entryway was one of most popular eateries in the area starting in 1967. Now, long lines no longer extend around the corner of the building. Echos of music and laughter have faded away. It closed in 2012 after a brief period under different management.
A new owner plans to demolish the building and build a retail shop with beach-related merchandise, saying a new, modern building will boost the area and there will be improved landscaping and storm water management. He said the former Julian’s is too outdated and deteriorated for rehab to be feasible.
But at a neighborhood meeting on the plans, an adjacent business owner expressed worries about the effect on parking, and one audience member lamented the loss of a unique Polynesian-style building that has become a landmark.
If a Planned Business Development is approved, the building will be replaced with an Ocean Club gift shop owned by Pinchas “Pinny” Mamane, who owns an Ocean Club farther south on State Road A1A, two in Daytona Beach and one in Daytona Beach Shores.
The plans were detailed at the neighborhood meeting June 19 at Ormond Beach Regional Library by Joe Hopkins, president of The Performance Group of Daytona Beach, a civil engineering company. Neighbors within 600 feet of the property were notified about the meeting, and ads were placed in a local newspaper.
This is the second date with the wrecking ball for Julian’s. It was purchased it in 2014 by local entrepreneur L. Gale Lemerand, who had planned to remove it for Stonewood Grill and Tavern parking but ended up selling the property to Mamane 18 months ago.
CITY APPROVAL NEEDED
The neighborhood meeting was necessary because the property owner is seeking a rezoning to Planned Business Development with relief from two requirements in the Land Development Code. The Planning Board will review the request on July 11 and then the City Commission will have the final vote. Hopkins said construction would start immediately after approval and required asbestos and pest inspections.
One relief from the code concerns the requirement for a 30-foot buffer between commercial and residential. The owner seeks to have this reduced to 15 feet along the west side, which is adjacent to housing on Florence Street.
The owner also seeks relief from the LDC requirement of a wall.
Currently, there is no buffer and no wall. Constructed in 1967, the building is non-conforming to the LDC.
Mamane also owns some residential properties along Florence Street.
Hopkins pointed out advantages to the development plan. It will increase the green area of the site with additional landscaping, have 51 trees instead of the required 42 and improve pedestrian access to the building.
Also, all stormwater will be diverted to underground tanks, so none will leave the property. Currently, the site is 90% impervious and water runs off into the neighborhood.
“It should improve the drainage of the area,” Hopkins said.
He also said the district will be improved with a new building.
THE PARKING QUESTION
John Adams, president of Adams Cameron and Co. Realtors, is concerned about parking problems for the businesses in the neighborhood.
The Julian’s parking lot has always blended into the parking area of the next-door Adams Cameron office. The realty office would use the parking mostly in the morning, while the restaurant utilized it in the evening.
The new site plan calls for a retaining wall between the gift shop parking lot and the Adams Cameron lot, and Adams said at the neighborhood meeting that this could cause problems.
“We really need to get to the bottom of the parking,” he said.
Hopkins would make no specific commitment.
“There’s an issue with the parking,” he said. “We will work with you but we can’t make a deal tonight.”
He said the gift shop will require only 35 stalls but the lot will have a capacity of 75.
Hopkins also said the gift shop owner is not responsible for parking problems in the neighborhood and said perhaps the city can look at alternatives such as on-street parking.
After the meeting, Mamane indicated an arrangement could be made.
“Being a good neighbor is very important for a business,” he said.
Also after the meeting, Adams said the parking problem could have a snowball effect, saying some businesses on Bovard Avenue utilize the parking at Julian’s at times.
“I’m very hopeful it can be worked out,” he said.
Condo owners across State Road A1A say they hope to continue using the lot for parking when needed, such as when their lot is being paved. Hopkins said he would not say no to temporary parking, saying there is a cooperative spirit.
LOSING A LANDMARK
Other than parking issues, there were no objections to the plans at the neighborhood meeting, except for one person who called the building a landmark.
Byron Kauffman, a commercial artist who lives on the beachside, said if unique buildings are torn down, Ormond Beach will eventually look like any other city.
“I hate to lose that cool of a building,” he said. “The city should get involved.”
If he were designing a new gift shop, he said he would incorporate the A-Frame design, to pay homage.
“Having a Polynesian design for a beach shop is a no-brainer,” he said.
Hopkins said the architectural style of the new building will be neo-eclectic, similar to the Panera Bread on West Granada Boulevard.
Kauffman remembers a hand-painted, 35-foot Hawaiian-themed mural in the restaurant, saying it could not be replicated today and should be saved.
Hopkins, who has inspected the property, said he did not remember seeing the mural, but it is dark in the building so he may have missed it. Mamane said he was not familiar with the mural, but would be willing to give it away if anyone is interesting in removing it.
In an interview after the meeting, Elysha Petschauer, executive director of the Ormond Beach Historical Society, said buildings that are 50 years old are now considered historic. In fact, state and national agencies are currently placing importance on “mid-century” buildings.
Hopkins said the building is in such bad shape that it would not be feasible to try to bring it up to code. In 2015, Lemerand also said the building could not be saved.
Some say the décor had become outdated by the time it closed and Lemerand agreed.
“The customers, employees and building all got old together,” he said.
A FAMILY REMEMBERED
Among those who remember Julian’s are Adams’ parents, Bob and Ryan.
“If you wanted to see anybody in Ormond Beach that you hadn’t seen for a while, you went to Julian’s,” Bob Adams said. “It was really wonderful.”
The restaurant was started by Cuban immigrant Julian Lopez, and Adams remembers the friendliness of the Lopez family.
“We’re still friends,” he said.
His wife Ryan recalls the owner’s wife, Dora, cracking the lobster claws for their young son.
Adams said the restaurant had nationally known entertainment and the “best prime rib in the world.” There was a small dance floor, and the Adams remembers people dancing in the aisles.
On the west side of the building was a mini-bar that seated about 20 people which was the local hangout for many years.
According to Orlando Sentinel archives, Dec. 22, 1997, was declared “Julian’s Day” by the Ormond Beach City Commission, commending Lopez for fulfilling the American Dream and honoring the family for community involvement. Lopez received a similar recognition from the Volusia County Council.
Lopez was known for his involvement with the Shriners’ transportation fund for burned and crippled children. Julian Lopez Sr. died April 21, 2018, in Ormond Beach.
“If you wanted to see anybody in Ormond Beach that you hadn’t seen for a while, you went to Julian’s,” BOB ADAMS
“I hate to lose that cool of a building.”