North Adams Redevelopment Authority lowers rent for Freight Yard Pub
NORTH ADAMS — Facing insolvency, the North Adams Redevelopment Authority has reluctantly settled a dispute with the Freight Yard Pub restaurant.
At its meeting on Monday, the redevelopment authority signed off on a deal that will lower the restaurant's rent from $4,000 to $2,500 per month.
The restaurant, a tenant of the Redevelopment Authority in the Western Gateway Heritage State Park, had put its landlord on notice in May and began withholding rent.
The establishment, now in the ninth year of its lease, argued that the Redevelopment Authority was violating its obligations due to the poor condition of the building, including roof leaks, water intrusion and structural defects.
Mayor Richard Alcombright dismissed the vast majority of those claims but sought to avoid a costly court battle as he warned the Redevelopment Authority could be months away from running out of cash.
The new agreement lowers the rent of Bay State Hospitality Group — the parent company of the Freight Yard Pub — from $4,000 to $2,500, effective Nov. 1.
It was approved unanimously by the three-member Redevelopment Authority board on Monday.
"We're reducing the rents as a settlement toward some of the issues that they had, and also so we can continue to derive revenue so we can keep our loan obligation," Alcombright said.
Of the litany of issues listed in the complaint, the Redevelopment Authority has addressed all that are its responsibility, according to Alcombright.
"The ones that were ours, that we were able to take care of, we have," said William Meranti, the city's building inspector.
The Redevelopment Authority had drained nearly all of its reserves and took on debt to pay the $300,000 it owed the Freight Yard Pub, which had successfully sued the Redevelopment Authority in 2011 for failing to adequately provide parking during construction on the nearby Hadley Overpass.
The final settlement, approved in 2016, resulted in the Redevelopment Authority draining $130,000 of its reserves and a $160,000 loan.
In August, Alcombright warned the Redevelopment Authority board that expenses, including the loan payments, would average more than $4,500 per month — substantially more than its rent revenue from Heritage State Park if the Freight yard Pub continued to withhold its payments.
But with the Redevelopment Authority now set to earn $2,500 monthly from the Freight Yard Pub and obtain $25,875 that was held in escrow, Alcombright said it should earn enough to minimally maintain the park and avoid defaulting on its loan.
It's expected rent from Tapestry, Barr and Barr, the Extreme Model Railroad and Contemporary Architecture Museum — which begins paying $1,500 monthly on Jan. 1 — and Freight Yard Pub will now total $5,225.
"The Redevelopment Authority is in a very cash-sensitive position, so to have to make a deal to be able to satisfy our debts is what I had to do," Alcombright said.
Redevelopment Authority Board Member Michael Leary expressed frustration with the situation and the inability of the board from preventing such a situation from happening again.
"If this happens again, I'm going to vote to lock that door," Leary said.
Representatives for the Freight Yard Pub were not present at the Redevelopment Authority's meeting on Monday.
Reach staff writer Adam Shanks at firstname.lastname@example.org @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter and 413-496-6376.
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