Another business on West Church Street has failed and will leave taxpayers holding the bag. This time, the vacancy is inside the Amway Center.
A group called Grat LLC was to build, open, and operate a restaurant inside the Amway Center, but recently bailed out on the project, leaving the taxpayers to finish the job and repay the subcontractors left in the cold. Mayor Buddy Dyer says the city did not fund building that restaurant inside the Amway Center originally because they wanted private dollars in the project.
"Just as we have a different concessionaire that is operating the ONE80 Lounge, we wanted to try to spread some of the economic opportunity out, so we left that unfinished. We were looking to do it in the fashion we did, unfortunately that didn't work out."
It will now cost more than $700,000 to finish the job. Mayor Dyer says he still thinks it will be a positive.
"We got a million dollars worth of improvements for $700,000. The contractor cut his fee, cut some other expenses. At the end of the day I would have rather seen a different result, than what went into it, but we've made a, made lemonade out of a lemon."
Part of that $700,000 will be given to Turner Construction to pay off subcontractors that were left without payment when Grat LLC bailed on the project.
"We wanted to make sure that they were made whole, and there was a way to accomplish that, our goal which was to have a functioning restaurant."
The city is likely to give final approval to the new deal on Monday, which will allow the company that currently controls restaurants inside the Amway Center to operate this one as well once it is finished. The new company will also pay market rent to run the restaurant as opposed to the discounted rent the original company would have received.