June 16, 2024
Annapolis, US 62 F

City Enters Into Tentative Lease

Finally, A Resolution For The Market House

After nearly a decade of failure, the Market House is moving forward!

Like the Phoenix who rose from the ashes, the Market House in Annapolis will once again be a place to hang out, socialize and dine on inexpensive food.  As long as there are no glitches in the process, residents and visitors can expect to experience the smells of what once was.

As everyone is aware, the Market House has been a dismal failure since Tropical Storm Isabelle blew through the area in 2003. First the existing merchants were thrown out. The replacement merchants snuck out. And now once again, it sits mostly empty.

Initially, the Mayor’s office had sought entrepreneurs to put forth their ideas for a short term lease. However, this proved ineffective as most businesses are seeking a more permanent position in the business community. A source close to the negotiations disclosed that McDonalds Corporation had designed a new prototype restaurant which will fit in with the various historic surroundings throughout the country with little modifications.

We contacted McDonalds and while they could not discuss the specifics,  William J. Feeser (VP New Real Estate) said, “We have successfully brought out product to market in non traditional sites. We have designed a new restaurant, actually branded a Cafe, to fit in almost any historical element including Annapolis.”

Our source at City Hall provided us with a draft copy of the proposed long term lease.  Some notable features of this lease include:

  • Initial term of the lease is 20 years with three options
  • Elimination of parking on Market Space to accommodate a drive through
  • All leasehold improvements to be done by the McDonalds Corporation
  • Initial rental of the 2500 space to be $75 psf, increasing to $225 psf in 2013
  • Installation of a pneumatic “meal delivery device” and remote ordering screen at the head of Ego Alley to accommodate boaters
  • A one time contribution for capital improvements in the amount of $1 million
  • Subdued signage to blend in with the historical nature of the town and subject to HAF approval

Depending on the speed at which the Council approves this lease, construction could begin immediately. Feeser wants to be open at some point during the summer, but certainly by the October boat shows.

While the Market House has been a cost center for the City for nearly a decade, this deal finally looks to be one that actually makes sense. Right away, the city get $1 million. For the first two years they will earn $375k in rent.  And the remaining 18 years will net the City over $10 million.

The preliminary copy of the lease can be viewed here.

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