City Announces Market House Lease Negotiations are Complete
A new timeline presented today by the Mayor's office calls for the city council to vote on the Market House legislation on Jan. 31.
The mayor’s office announced today that negotiations between the city and Gone to Market LLC, a part of Lehr Jackson Associates Baltimore-based development firm, have completed negotiations for the Market House lease.
The city has been in talks with Gone to Market since the mayor first called for “an open audition of ideas” for potential tenants of the Market House last spring. The lease negotiations were originally set to be complete by Dec. 6, but were pushed back as both parties sought to reach agreement on several key terms.
A draft of the lease was presented in a city council meeting on Dec. 20 but, at the time, there were still key provisions that had not yet been agreed upon between the two parties.
In a city council meeting on Jan. 10, which can be viewed here, negotiations were still not complete and Mayor Josh Cohen told members of the city council that “If Gone to Market does not work out as the operator, the city does not have a plan B.”
Today in the press release, Cohen emphasized the city’s commitment to the success of the building.
“Through this lease with Gone to Market, the Market House stands the best chance of succeeding and renewing its promise as the heart and soul of downtown,” Cohen said in the written prepared statement.
“This lease allows the city to achieve the three priorities we had from Day One: the right vision, the right operator and the right protections,” Cohen stated in the press release.
Phill McGowan, public information officer for the city of Annapolis said the completed lease was presented to members of the city council about one hour before the press release was sent out this afternoon.
“At the end of the day, for the mayor, having a successful market house is going to be a huge gain and a huge win for the city,” McGowan said.
According to a new timeline, outlined in the press release today, the council is slated to review the lease in a public hearing on Jan. 24. It will then be presented to the Economic Matters Committe for review of specific details regarding marketing and business plans on Jan 26. According to the timeline outlined in the release, the council will vote on the lease on Jan. 31.
McGowan said the mayor "feels very satisfied about the product that he’s presenting to the council.”
The information presented today also calls for the new Market House to open on July 1 — later than earlier proposals for April and then (most recently) May.
One of the key provisions for the lease calls for the city to fund the renovations to the building’s exterior and provide proper utilities, while Gone to Market will renovate the inside of the building, the release states.
On Wednesday, the Finance Committee will review the administration’s request to transfer $600,000 of 2009 general government bonds to cover the city’s portion of the renovations, according to the press release.
Check Patch later for more coverage of the newly drafted lease.