Tourist Attractions and Arts & Entertainment, etc. and Commercial Real Estate and Attractions and Development/Redevelopment and City Market and Restaurants and Tourism & Hospitality and Retail and Law and Real Estate & Retail

City Market set to oust 19-year tenant Enzo Pizza

May 25, 2011

Enzo Pizza’s nearly 20-year run at Indianapolis City Market appears to have come to an end.

Directors of the historic downtown building have notified the longtime tenant that its equipment needs to be removed by the end of the day on Friday after Enzo owner Vincenzo Verderame declined to accept their latest lease offer.

The dispute stems from the construction of a bicycle hub in the City Market’s east wing, where Enzo was located. Construction on the $800,000 conversion began about three months ago and is part of a larger, $3.4 million project to upgrade the City Market’s main hall with new lighting, rest rooms and vendor stands.

To accommodate the bike hub, City Market directors tried to move Enzo into new space near the west entrance of the main building.

However, Enzo’s equipment sits unused in the space. The restaurant refused to operate in the new spot and has been closed for about five weeks.

Parent Enzo Pizza Inc. filed a lawsuit last month in Marion Superior Court, claiming “wrongful eviction” because City Market verbally agreed not to “forcibly” move the eatery to another space in the main building until its lease could be amended, the complaint alleges.

Enzo’s suit said the space is 20 square feet smaller than the restaurant’s previous location. Enzo further complained that City Market never provided architectural or construction plans for the space.

The restaurant also wanted an agreement specifying who would pay for the relocation and for any damages to equipment or property that might occur during the move.

City Market attorney Bryce Bennett said most of Enzo’s demands are unreasonable, if not impossible, to meet.

Building directors are moving forward with the eviction despite the pending lawsuit, which remains active. Bennett said he didn’t know whether Enzo will pursue the complaint. Enzo’s lawyer is out of town and could not be reached for comment.

Verderame did not return phone calls from IBJ.

The owner made an attempt to stay in City Market by countering the directors’ latest lease offer, but was rejected, Bennett said. He declined to divulge details of Verderame’s offer.

“They are not interested in the proposal we’ve made,” Bennett said. “If that’s the case, we need to have the equipment removed so we can put that space back into productive use.”

Both the main-hall and east-wing projects should be completed by mid-July, City Market Executive Director Jim Reilly said.

Enzo was the only tenant left in the east wing, and its refusal to move set work back about two to three weeks.

“We wanted them to stay; they’re good tenants,” Reilly said. “I don’t understand why this all happened. I never saw it coming.”

Enzo had been a tenant at City Market since 1992. It is a family-owned, Indianapolis-based chain that will have six locations remaining in Indiana and Michigan if the City Market restaurant does not reopen.
 
The company has one other downtown Indianapolis location, at 149 N. Illinois St.
 

 

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