Four businesses are vying for a space in the downtown Columbus Commons. Next week, a committee will review the possible tenants and could choose one as early as next month.
The four businesses seeking the space are Tropical Smoothie Café, Jordy McTaggert’s Grill & Pub, Commons Coffee Bar and Arni’s Restaurant.
The city has been subsidizing the space after the previous tenant left in March following a feud with the city.
Two years ago, Mark Maddox and Mert Shipman opened a Scotty’s restaurant in the Commons. They had a falling out with the restaurant manager and changed the restaurant from Scotty’s to another bar and grill, called Detour.
That didn’t well with the city’s redevelopment committee and the newly-elected Mayor Kristen Brown. Maddox says the city sued him, alleging he violated the lease agreement.
“We contended all along that we thought that it was a very political decision, that Mayor Brown was just trying to undo a lease decision that was made by the prior administration and wanted to just exert her political power and decide who ended up leasing that space, herself,” he says.
Maddox says he’s been contacted by restaurant groups who have shown interest in leasing the space to hear about his history with Mayor Brown’s administration, although he declined to share their names.
Columbus Communications Coordinator Chris Schilling says Maddox’s version of the story isn’t true.
“I don’t believe there was any political issues at hand. There was a breach of the lease,” he says.
Schilling says the Tenant Review Committee will meet next week to discuss the proposals and interview candidates. They will make a recommendation to the Redevelopment Committee by Nov. 18.