NORTH ADAMS -- City officials and owners of the Freight Yard Pub are in negotiations over payment of $300,000 awarded to the restaurant in a lawsuit with the North Adams Redevelopment Authority.
A Berkshire Superior Court judge recently upheld a jury's November 2013 decision on June 30 that Bay State Hospitality Group, the pub's parent company owned by Colleen Taylor, is owed $300,000 by the North Adams Redevelopment Authority -- its landlord -- for the negative impact construction on the Hadley Overpass has had on the business.
Judge John A. Agostini also ruled that the city was owed $83,215 in back rent, but the resulting amount owed by NARA would still be more than $200,000. How that money will be paid -- or whether the NARA plans to appeal the decision to a higher court -- remains unclear.
"We are looking at our options right now, we will be having discussions with the Taylors," Alcombright said.
No matter what the outcome, Alcombright said, the city itself will not be on the hook for the money.
"There is a difference between the NARA and the city," Alcombright said. "This doesn't impact the city finances in any way shape or form. Anything at all that comes out of this does not impact our reserves or our budget."
In his decision, the judge also denied NARA's request, citing unpaid rent, to evict the Freight Yard Pub from its space. The NARA serves as the landlord for tenants within the Western Gateway Heritage State Park.
"Allowing the NARA to evict Bay State for not paying rent would conflict with ‘fundamental notions of fairness,' " Agostini wrote.
Colleen Taylor and her Pittsfield-based attorney, Christopher Hennessey, both declined to comment on the case until it is fully resolved.
Parking at the restaurant, whose spaces lay underneath the Route 8 Hadley Overpass, was severely limited when state Department of Transportation crews began construction in 2008 until January 2012. According to court documents, the restaurant's revenue dropped from $1.36 million to about $899,000 in 2009, when most of the lot was fenced off.
The lease signed between Bay State Hospitality Group and the NARA explicitly stated that, while the landlord could make alterations to parking and other things at its discretion from "time to time," it could only do so "provided that the size of the premises, reasonable access to the premises, and the parking facilities, should not be significant or materially altered," according to court documents, the
"The terms of the lease are clear that parking was critical, a condition that is hardly surprising in light of the nature of the business and its location," Agostini wrote.
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