City staff attempt to mediate landlord and tenant conflict between Tett Centre and Juniper Cafe

City of Kingston staff say they used a written request from Juniper Cafe as the basis for their recommendations in a mediation bid to resolve the café’s outstanding landlord/tenant issues at the Tett Centre.

After attending a Tett Centre Board of Directors meeting on Friday January 18, 2019, City staff received direction from the Tett Board to mediate outstanding landlord and tenant issues with Juniper Café and re-start the process they say was attempted in the fall of 2018. The process, they say, will be in alignment with an email request from the owner and operator of the Café, ECI. The proposed resolution includes new ownership of the popular waterfront spot.

As part of that process, City staff will lead the new lease negotiation process with a potential new owner. The process, as outlined in a City Staff memo to council, is as follows:

1. Tett Board to grant a 3 month extension to ECI to the current lease, to end on April 30, 2019, including any appropriate releases at the expiry of the lease extension;

2. ECI agrees to a 2 week shutdown during the extension period to facilitate the City’s work in that space as requested in the owner’s correspondence;

3. The RFP for a Café operator is postponed immediately;

4. The City to lead negotiations of a new lease with a confirmed buyer of the Juniper Café. The negotiation will be with the buyer, understanding that the current ownership wishes to sell the business and move on;

5. Mentorship by the current owners to the potential new owner/operator of the business would be permitted during the 3 month extension to ECI. If further mentorship is required, that would be provided off-site to assist the transition of ownership and operations;

6. The lease with the new owner of the Juniper Café would be generally offered on terms and conditions as per the current RFP including a 3 year first term, plus an option to renew for a 2nd term of 2 years;

The City and the Tett Board will assess the new purchaser once experience, financial references, proposed food services plan and a written Statement regarding vision and fit. If there is no confirmed purchase and sale agreement, the lease will end April 30, 2019, and the Tett Board will likely continue with the RFP process to find a new cafe? tenant.

Staff say they believe their outlined process responds to the request made by the current owners of the Juniper Café to City staff, and is also consistent with what was offered by the Tett Board in the fall of 2018. The report is set to be presented to City Council for their consideration on Tuesday, January 22nd.

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