St. Clair Shores to work with companies affected by shutdown

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published April 11, 2020

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“This is nice. This is the type of gesture we would want landlords in the city to show their tenants if they could." 

Candice Rusie, St. Clair Shores Councilwoman

As Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended the stay at home order for Michigan through April 30, the St. Clair Shores City Council authorized city staff to work with companies that lease land or property from the city to provide them relief while their businesses are shut down.

St. Clair Shores leases Blossom Heath Inn to Kosch Catering, for example, and the St. Clair Shores Golf Course restaurant and banquet facility to Cranks Services.

“Obviously, they are shut down,” said Mayor Kip Walby during the April 6 City Council meeting, which was held virtually via Zoom and teleconference. 

Whitmer shut down sit-down bars and restaurants in March to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. 

City Manager Matthew Coppler said that, due to the shutdown, the city anticipates that the companies may be unable to pay their monthly leases to the city. He and city staff suggested that they develop agreements with the companies to forgo payments during the shutdown. The length of the leases would then be extended by the same number of months at the end of their terms so the companies, and the city, could recoup those revenues.

Councilwoman Candice Rusie said she was in favor of the proposal, and even suggested allowing a few additional months of grace period after the shutdown is ended to allow the businesses to ramp back up.

“This is nice. This is the type of gesture we would want landlords in the city to show their tenants if they could,” she said. 

Councilman Chris Vitale agreed.

“By giving them the longer lease, we’re giving them the opportunity to make up the money,” he said.

The renegotiated contracts with each entity will come back before City Council for approval. 

“We also have two other properties where businesses are leasing small areas from the city,” Coppler said, referring to right of ways leased by Pat O’Briens Tavern and Sabby’s. “We would look at all of those and talk with them and prepare some type of extension to compensate for that.”

A motion made by Councilman Ron Frederick, supported by Councilman Peter Rubino, to direct administration to work with the affected lease holders was unanimously approved.