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  • Mark Baratelli, Editor

While Restaurant and Landlord Clash Over Downtown Food Hall Plans, Board Approves Them

The owners of Hamburger Mary's Orlando at 110 W Church Street (MAP) posted a lengthy statement to their Facebook account October 16th regarding their landlords, Lincoln Property Company (Website).


They stated that construction currently taking place on the new Bumby Arcade Food Hall, located directly behind Hamburger Mary's in the same building, has blocked the restaurant's ADA compliant entrance.


The owners also stated that the food hall plans submitted to the City for approval left out the fact that Hamburger Mary's lease covers areas where exterior food hall signage and structures will be placed according to the plans.


Austin Stahley, the Florida Region Director of the Lincoln Property Company, Hamburger Mary's landlords, told Daily City "...we’re not aiming to break Hamburger Mary’s lease." He also stated, "Their restaurant is planned to be distinctly separate from the Bumby Arcade food hall, but not negatively affected by the final improvements to the property."


At the October 15th meeting of the Municipal Planning Board, during which the food hall plans were presented as part of Phase 2 and 3 of the Church Street Towers project, Hamburger Mary's owners Michael Rogier and John Paonessa spoke out.


They presented the Board with binders detailing landlord/tenant issues and stated that the food hall project violated their lease agreement. Mr. Rogier was also concerned about the construction impacts of the proposed tower on his business.


Scott Stahley, of the Lincoln Property Company, rebutted the speakers comments and noted that they had come to him 6 times asking for a million dollar buy out.


Board Chairperson Jonathan Huels noted that the landlord/tenant issues were a private matter and out of the purview of what was before the Board during the meeting.


Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer stated the same thing on the restaurant's original Facebook post, saying "...the city cannot mediate tenant/landlord disputes."


John Paonessa, one of the owners of Hamburger Mary's, told Daily City, "That may be, but the issues stem from the City approving this project and not being given information by the builder that it violates terms (in) our lease agreement."


The food hall plans were approved by the Municipal Planning Board at the meeting.


We questioned City of Orlando Public Information Officer Karyn Barber about whether the Board has any requirement that a project presented them not break a tenant’s lease.


Barber responded to Daily City saying, “It is not within the board's purview to adjudicate third party agreements between a private property owner and tenant.”



As for returning access to the ADA complaint entrance back to Hamburger Mary's, Paonessa told Daily City he doesn't expect to have it for at least 6 months but said "that has not been confirmed by landlord," he said.


Lincoln did not provide a timeframe for the return of the ADA compliant entrance when asked.


The area to the east of the building is where Hamburger Mary's receives its food deliveries. The plans for the food hall call for the construction of a two-story metal structure in that exact area. Once the construction is complete, Paonessa is unsure where deliveries will take place. "We have always used the east side of building which is granted in our lease."


Does Lincoln want Hamburger Mary's out as a tenant?


Paonessa says, "Yes."


Stahley said, "Hamburger Mary’s will be remaining in place as a tenant for the foreseeable future."


The food hall plans will go for final approval before City Council November 11th according to News13.


The metal structure planned for the left side of the restaurant is on property the owners of Hamburger Mary's claims is theirs per their current lease.


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mark@thedailycity.com

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