Friday, September 9, 2011

URA, Cairde Group sign Starbucks lease

With lease signed, renovations to visitor center under way

Express Staff Writer

Workers have started remodeling the visitor center in Ketchum, in part to accommodate a new Starbucks coffee shop franchise. Photo by David N. Seelig

Plans for a Starbucks coffee shop in the visitor center in Ketchum can move ahead following an agreement between the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency and Cairde Group.

The parties signed a lease agreement that allows Cairde Group to rent 1,900 square feet of the visitor center—about half the building—on Sun Valley Road and 250 square feet of space under the building's former drive-through area, beginning Nov. 1, to operate a Starbucks franchise.

"We are targeting a November opening but do not have any specifics around that at this time," said Jane Rizzo, principal of Cairde Group. "We are excited at the opportunity to carry forward the Starbucks brand in our town."

Cairde Group will pay $3,000 per month in base rent, which is $1.50 per square foot on the building's ground level, and 60 cents per square foot for the exterior space on the town square.

The URA will pay for $141,000 in building improvements, including upgrades to the water and sewer lines, and structural modifications. The URA deemed those improvements necessary to make the building rentable to any tenant.

The five-year lease has two five-year options to renew.

Cairde Group signed the lease Aug. 4. Starbucks signed a rider Aug. 12 granting it certain rights if Cairde Group does not fulfill or renew the agreement.

The agreement has a contentious history. A petition against renting the public property to Starbucks, or any private company, drew hundreds of signatures of local proprietors and residents.

In April, the URA reopened its request-for-proposals process to anyone wanting to operate a business in the visitor center, not just to food/beverage providers. That did not quell opposition, however.

When the URA approved a letter of intent outlining lease requirements for Cairde Group, some local business owners protested the $1.50-per-square-foot rent and the improvements that the URA committed to making to the building. Other residents said the building, owned by the property-tax-funded URA, should have a community focus rather than accommodate a business that would compete with existing food and beverage operations.

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. However, URA attorney Stephanie Bonney said Wednesday that no lawsuit had been filed against the URA over the agreement.

Starbucks has not indicated when the company-operated Starbucks coffee shop on Main Street will be closed.

Rebecca Meany:

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