Victorian Square LLC has taken legal steps to terminate its lease with Desha's restaurant and force the restaurant to vacate the property by Dec. 31.
Victorian Square filed a motion with Fayette Circuit Court seeking a declaratory judgment stating that the restaurant had persistently failed to pay rent and other charges in a timely manner.
The motion, filed on May 3, said Victorian Square was not legally obligated to extend the lease, which runs through Dec. 31, and it expected Tavern Restaurant Group "to peacefully vacate its premises in Victorian Square by the end of the year."
Victorian Square notified Tavern Restaurant Group by email on March 14 that it would not enter into a new lease agreement, according to court documents.
Tavern Restaurant Group, which owns Desha's, told Victorian Square the restaurant has the option to renew its lease, court documents said.
Victorian Square is asking the court to provide a ruling.
Victorian Square's attorney Thomas Miller asked the court to cancel a hearing that had been scheduled for May 17. Miller said he received a call from an attorney who had recently been hired to represent the Tavern Restaurant Group and had not had time to work on a response.
A new date will be scheduled by Fayette Circuit Judge Thomas Clark.
Mark Smedal, Louisville attorney representing Tavern Restaurant Group, said he could not comment on the case. However, he said "Desha's considers itself to be the one steady rock in that development over the last 28 years. The company feels it's very unfortunate this dispute has arisen."
Victorian Square is a block of restored 19th-century buildings across from Rupp Arena and Lexington Center. Desha's was the first tenant when Victorian Square opened in 1985, occupying a prominent spot at the corner of Main Street and North Broadway.
In August, Victorian Square was bought by The Webb Companies and Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate Inc., of Cincinnati, for $1.7 million.
When the sale was announced, Mark Fallon, vice president of real-estate leasing for Anderson, said plans for Victorian Square were to make it a downtown destination with the addition of several high-volume restaurants.
Tavern Restaurant Group has been behind on its rent going back to at least 2009, according to court documents. Tavern Restaurant Group was notified 15 times in three years of its failure to pay rent, according to an affidavit from Sandra Duvall, general manager of Victorian Square.
In addition, Duvall sent two letters directly to chief executive officer Nick Sanders explaining Tavern Restaurant Group's failure to pay rent via automatic transfers from its bank to Victorian Square's bank.
Additionally, Duvall said the Tavern Restaurant Group failed to maintain its premises. Instead of paying penalties and other delinquent charges, the restaurant group at one point was given a credit of $75,000 by Victorian Square to make improvements to the property. But Victorian Square never received confirmation that any work was done.