UA-area businesses feeling landlord's lease crunch

By Charles Ratliff

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Marshall Foundation has said they would like to see "the right mix of tenants" in their property along University Boulevard and Park Avenue.

However, merchants in the building in the 800 block of North Park Avenue of the foundation property have said they feel their landlord is trying to push them out.

The Marshall Foundation owns the property along both sides of University Boulevard and the west side of Park Avenue in the immediate vicinity of the old Main Gate. The foundation also owns the Geronimoz Complex and the land the new Administration Annex and hotel are being built on.

Larry Orenstein said he closed his Park Avenue Bagelry location after seven years because he felt the foundation wanted him out.

He said they wouldn't write a lease for him that complemented his business enterprise.

"They wanted to give me a 12-month lease with a 4-month out-clause," Orenstein said. "You can't build a business with those types of conditions.

"Nobody can," he said. "I think it's intentional."

Sharon Hines, owner of Kippy's on Park Avenue and president of the Campus Merchants Association, said the Marshall Foundation changed her lease as well.

After being in business nearly a year and a half, Hines said the foundation changed her 15-year lease to a 12-month with the 4-month out-clause.

She said that's not the only thing she's worried about, though. She said she's worried about just being in business after the first of the year.

"I don't know if we're going to be around after Christmas," she said in an earlier interview with the Wildcat.

Hines said rent and utilities are high and that she has to pay

$4,000 up front every month.

"You've got to make a hell of a lot of hamburgers for that," she said.

Hines said the foundation also placed Mama's Pizza and Heros' Park Avenue location on a 12-month lease with the 4-month out-clause.

Vinnie Spina, one of Mama's family owners and spokesperson for the Park Avenue location, is in Mexico and was unavailable for comment.

Hines said a representative of the foundation told her to pass on the news to Spina about the lease.

Merchants have said the foundation is trying to clear that building to make room for a "national" client.

Judge John Malloy, president of the Marshall Foundation, confirmed yesterday that they are negotiating with Tower Records as a potential tenant for the building on Park Avenue.

Orenstein said that for Tower Records to come in they would need 20,000 square feet, which means nearly occupying the whole building.

The department of Arid Lands Studies will vacate the north suite, said Mercy Valencia, director of space management. She said Arid Lands will be moving to 1955 E. Sixth Street sometime in January and that the move was mutually decided upon between the Marshall Foundation and the UA.

Chuck Morton, owner of R & R Skates, which used to sit next to the Bagelry, said he had been under a short-term lease with the foundation for his location in the building. He said he felt the campus market was not conducive to his business, so he decided to close his Park Avenue location.

This leaves Kippy's, Mama's and Himalayan Imports to occupy the whole building.

Charles Cooksey, owner of Himalayan Imports, said his business is "doing bad" and blames it on the hotel construction behind his store.

"Once the construction is finished, that (area) will be a prime location," he said. "If we could just hang in there."

Cooksey said he didn't know how much longer he would be in business. He said the Marshall Foundation has not changed his lease, but he said he would be re-evaluating his business after the first of the year.

Read Next Article