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Columbus Mayor Fred Armstrong

Mayor Armstrong talks about a deal with Bloomington restaurateur Daniel Orr to open a new eatery in downtown Columbus.

Chef Daniel Orr used a Facebook post Tuesday to announce the signing of a lease with the city of Columbus and, at the same time, solicit financial backing for renovations to the city’s pump house – renovations, the chef said, which could cost upwards of $2 million.

“Roof improvements, we’re going to have to put in a complete new HVAC system, put in a kitchen, put in ventilation set for that kind of a business. So there’s quite a bit of expense as well as the brewery.”

Speaking on WFIU’s “Ask the Mayor,” Columbus Mayor Fred Armstrong pronounced himself happy with the agreement, because it meets his chief stipulation – that the city not pay for any of the cost of overhauling the space.

“The lease agreement basically says that he will invest his money in upgrades in landscaping, the building and parking lot. The city will not invest anything. It’s $100 a month lease for a period of time and then it will go up,” the mayor said.

Orr said the lease includes an escalator clause which raises the rent $100 a month for each year the brewery is open, up to a maximum of $1500 a month. The business plan submitted to the city of Columbus estimates the restaurant will open in September of 2012.

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