Rock Bottom prevails in fight with its downtown landlord

August 23, 2011
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Rock Bottom BreweryA U.S. District Judge has sided with downtown's Rock Bottom Brewery in a dispute with the restaurant's landlord. John Goodman, who owns the building at 10 W. Washington St. where Rock Bottom has operated since June 1996, tried to evict the business late last year. His explanation: A lease renewal notice from Rock Bottom's parent company was invalid because it didn’t come from the entity named in the lease, Walnut Brewery Inc., and wasn’t delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. Rock Bottom, part of a Colorado-based chain, argued the renewal notice was valid since it arrived on time, via overnight delivery from UPS. Goodman filed suit in Marion Superior Court, but the case was moved to the U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt sided with Rock Bottom in a ruling Monday. "The notice sent by third party courier UPS, "signature required," was sufficient as the notice was timely received by landlord and tenant clearly and unequivocally expressed the intent to exercise its option," she wrote. The original lease for Rock Bottom, which occupies more than 10,000 square feet, expired May 31, 2011. The restaurant had the option of extending the lease for two additional, five-year terms.

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  • Sounds a little fishy to me.
    Rock Bottom is a quality operation in most respects. They have a good product and plenty of business, and have lasted all these years. Not an easy thing to do with all the new places that seem to open and eventually close. Sounds like the landlord may have under-estimated the conditions of the contract and now is looking for a technical way out.
    • Maybeee
      Maybe Rock Bottom disturbs the rest of the tenants in the area with its brewing operations....Savvy move by Landlord to protect his assets and other tenants. I am sure they will figure out how to continue to live together.
      • Savvy?
        Instead of savvy, I would call it "utterly ridiculous". Perhaps there is more to the story, but the Landlord's argument sounds completely asinine, and apparently the judge agrees.
        • Unfathomable
          I don't understand why the landlord would want to evict company in these economic time, that's providing rent to him over a stupid technicality like this??!?! Did he have another (better) tenant lined up for the space, or was he just going to evict them and let his storefront remain empty and cover the bill. It just doesn't make sense to me when so many other places are closing, that he would willingly push his paycheck out the door. Ridiculous!
          • Possibility of higher paying tenant?
            When I first saw this a while ago, I thought it was rediculous to kick someone out who has been a good tenant. However there might be an underlying story here. Perhaps there really was someone out there in the wings that was willing to come in there an pay more rent and have the place ready for the superbowl... I don't by the lease renewal being invalid argument at all.
            • I agree
              I agree...it's all about the cash. I don't go there anymore anyway. My last two visits were really disappointing as far as the food goes. I take my cash for food and beverages to Red Lion to Fountain Square.
            • Landlord is psycho
              He has a long pattern of acting like a complete jerk. Glad he lost.

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