Friday, July 22, 2011

Starbucks lease agreement appears imminent

URA, group come together on terms

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency board Chair Randy Hall said the URA's lease agreement with Cairde Group should be finalized within a week.

Hall provided the update at a URA meeting Monday.

"We finally got everyone to agree on the deal points," he said in an interview.

An agreement between the URA and the Cairde Group would establish a Starbucks franchise in the visitor center on Sun Valley Road.

Cairde Group principal Jane Rizzo told the Idaho Mountain Express on Tuesday that there were no updates on the matter. Hall, however, said he was confident of an agreement.

"My understanding is that all parties are ready to sign," he said. "Then, we execute the lease, and all of the terms of the lease are in effect."

The Starbucks that the Cairde Group plans to open is the corporation's new Heritage Model. Rizzo previously said the new Starbucks wouldn't be corporation-owned and operated as it is at the current location, but would be locally owned and operated by Cairde Group.


"We're all still very excited," Hall said.

Hall said his motive is creating new jobs and "working as hard as I can to keep the ones we have."

Hall said Starbucks, and its benefited jobs, might have closed its Ketchum store had the agreement not come about.

"I think it's worth keeping those kinds of jobs in town," he said.

Not everyone will welcome an agreement.

Some residents believe the building, owned by the property-tax-funded URA, should have a community focus rather than a business that would compete with existing, and struggling, restaurants.

Some took issue with what they say was preferential treatment for Cairde Group's Starbucks proposal.

In May, attorneys for Ketchum residents Jima Rice, president of nonprofit business-promotion group Jigsaw, and Lisa Rippo, co-owner of Java café, sent the URA a "courtesy copy" of a potential legal complaint against the agency, the Cairde Group, and principals Tim Flaherty and Jane Rizzo. Boise attorney Alexander McLaughlin said at the time that his clients intended to file a lawsuit against those parties.

As of Wednesday, the URA had not been served with a lawsuit, URA attorney Stephanie Bonney said.

Rebecca Meany:

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