NEWS
08/01/2014 08:39 EDT | Updated 10/01/2014 05:59 EDT

Captain John's: New owners not yet ready to abandon ship

Captain John's has a new pair of owners at the helm who must now decide how much of the floating restaurant, if any, can be spared the scrapyard.

On Thursday James Sprolla and his brother paid $33,500 for the 300-foot long derelict ship, which has been moored in Toronto's harbour for decades but has not operated as a restaurant for years.

Since serving its last dinner, Captain John's has been both a curiosity and an eyesore anchored at the foot of Yonge Street.

The ship was sold Thursday by court order in an attempt to recover back taxes and mortgages that accrued when the owner ran into financial trouble.

The sale requires that the boat be removed within three weeks.

Sprolla is hoping he can find a business partner willing to take part in some kind of refurbishment of the ship before that deadline. But failing that, he intends to sell off what parts he can and scrap the rest.

Speaking on CBC Radio's Metro Morning Friday, Sprolla said years of neglect has left Captain John's in anything but ship-shape.

"It looks terrible to be frank," he told guest host David Common. "It was a little weathered back in the 1990s. Today it would be a terrific place to hold a Halloween party, it's pretty scary."

Sprolla said there's "tremendous value" in the metal on-board, particularly in the steel, copper and brass parts.

But there's also a few signature items — such the ship's lifeboats, anchor and steering wheel —  that could be sold off.

"I'm hoping someone can save the whole thing," he said. "If not, we'll extract the value that we can in terms of nostalgia, the pieces that can be saved, and the rest will go to scrap.

"We have no problem with moving it. It's a matter of how quickly can we make it an investment recovery project. We've got three weeks to figure it out."