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Sale of Peach’s nears completion

BRADENTON — A Sarasota real estate investor has a sales contract pending to purchase Peach’s Restaurant, a popular restaurant chain in Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Dennis Holly, an investor and former restaurateur, said he expects the contract to purchase the 10 local restaurants as well as Peach’s corporate and catering buildings to close this month.

If the deal comes through it would resolve the restaurant chain’s current financial trouble.

In January, First State Bank of Northwest Arkansas filed a foreclosure suit against Peach’s Management Inc., its 10 restaurants and owner Michael Luciano stating more than $1 million is due on a $1.3 million loan it received from Coast Bank of Florida in October 2003.

First State Bank, a successor to Coast Bank and Freedom Bank, filed its foreclosure suit Jan. 15.

Luciano did not return calls seeking comment. Instead, his attorney W. Nelon Kirkland, said the restaurant chain is trying to work out its financial troubles. Kirkland added that he is aware of a sales contract that is pending between Luciano and Holly.

“The bank has not sought a default against any of those entities or Mike,” Kirkland said. “Right now the matter between the entities and the bank is attempting to be resolved.”

The lawsuit states that as of Dec. 31, Peach’s Management owed $1,064,938 to First State Bank on a $1.3 million loan originally issued by Coast Bank. In addition, the restaurant chain owed $276,282 in late charges and interest through Dec. 31.

Peach’s Management also received a $400,000 credit promissory note from Coast Bank in which the restaurant chain owed $397,573 and $99,496 in late fees and interest, according to court documents.

Holly wouldn’t disclose terms of the contract other than to say it will include purchasing all 10 restaurants, the corporate office and the catering service.

“We’re not going to be changing everything,” said Holly, who owned a chain of Mexican restaurants in Michigan called La Senorita. “They’re going to stay as they are. My intention is to keep them, work on them and, if anything, make them better.”

Last year, Luciano put the restaurant chain — which has restaurants in Manatee and Sarasota counties — on the market for $4.25 million.

The corporate building, at 4440 Fifth St. W., also was put up for sale for $599,000 and the catering building for $399,000.

Luciano told the Bradenton Herald in April 2009 that he decided to see if he could sell the restaurant chain after a purchase deal in 2008 fell through due to the economic downturn.

Now, Luciano’s home in west Bradenton is listed as a short sale with Michael Saunders and Co.

Luciano founded Peach’s Restaurant in 1985 in North Conway, N.H. In 1990, he and his wife relocated to Bradenton to open a Peach’s at 3201 Manatee Ave. W.

The second Peach’s opened two years later on Cortez Road, and by 2006 Luciano had expanded to 10 restaurants.