Future of fire-ravaged Mike's Grill & Bar restaurant at Sylvania 'up in the air'

Uncertain future: Two months after the fire, the building remains bordered up and the restaurant owner is unsure whether it will reopen. Picture: Chris Lane

Uncertain future: Two months after the fire, the building remains bordered up and the restaurant owner is unsure whether it will reopen. Picture: Chris Lane

Police say there is no evidence to suggest the fire which destroyed Mike’s Grill & Bar restaurant at Sylvania was suspicious.

Two months after the fire, the building on Princes Highway, near Tom Uglys Bridge, remains bordered up and its future is uncertain.

Destroyed: Aftermath of the fire that broke out in the restaurant on Princes Highway shortly before 6am on August 20. Picture: Sutherland Fire and Rescue

Destroyed: Aftermath of the fire that broke out in the restaurant on Princes Highway shortly before 6am on August 20. Picture: Sutherland Fire and Rescue

Smoke was seen coming from the restaurant shortly before 6am on August 20, and fire quickly engulfed the building.

A police spokeswoman said investigators were preparing a brief of evidence for the Coroner.

”Police are awaiting reports from specialist investigators in relation to the incident,” she said.

“At this stage, police have no evidence to suggest the fire was suspicious.”

The  restaurant owner said he wanted to reopen, but he leased the premises and needed the consent of the property owner.

“Everything is up in the air,” said George, who owns several Mike’s Grill & Bar restaurants, and asked only his first name be published.

He said the landlord also owned the adjoining property.

”The fire is still under forensic investigation, but they have ruled out arson,” George said.

“At the moment, they are saying it started in the roof cavity.”

The fire could lead to a quicker redevelopment of at least part of the restaurant strip on the western side of the highway.

A masterplan for the “gateway” to the shire, including the foreshore area around Tom Uglys Bridge, was released by Sutherland Shire Council this year.

It envisages upgrading public facilities and privately owned properties on both sides of the highway in that area.

Work is due to start soon on stage one of the project, on the eastern side, which will include a new footpath, seating and plantings.

Funding will come partly from a voluntary planning agreement between the council and developers of two apartment-commercial blocks, which are being built on the eastern side adjacent to the shopping strip.

The developers have been permitted to build extra apartments in return for them modifying plans to accommodate and pay for an adjustment to the footpath in front of the blocks,

Stage two of the project would involve a similar upgrade to public facilities on the western side of the highway, where Mike’s Grill & Bar operated.

The masterplan stated a new footpath and other work could only be done when the four shops were redeveloped.

The long-term vision includes more green space between the bridges, with upgraded toilet facilities, picnic tables, seating and possibly a playground, along with a shared walk-cycle path.

"Not suspicious": Police are awaiting reports from specialist investigators, but say there is no evidence of arson. Picture: Sutherland Fire and Rescue

"Not suspicious": Police are awaiting reports from specialist investigators, but say there is no evidence of arson. Picture: Sutherland Fire and Rescue

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