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Annapolis Market House: DOA

| February 14, 2011, 11:10 PM | 29 Comments

A Never Ending Story

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After paying Lehr Jackson nearly $10,000 per month for the past several months, after paying DLA Piper unknown hours to negotiate a lease, after countless hours of public testimony, after significant effort by City employees, the Market House is dead for now.

At the beginning of tonight’s meeting, Mayor Cohen announced that despite having enough votes to pass the lease, Lehr Jackson called him this afternoon and requested that the lease be pulled and the future of the Market House be run through a standard Request For Proposals (RFP) process.

Prior to the meeting, Eye On Annapolis got wind of the change. It was somewhat obvious that the deal was finished as Aldermen Paone, Arnett, and Finlayson were borderline giddy.

However, what precipitated this remains a secret only known to Cohen and Jackson. In talking with several in attendance, two scenarios tended to float to the top:

  • Lehr Jackson realized the public outcry and general distrust; and questioned the viability of operating the Market House in what could be considered a hostile environment. Would the locals support it?
  • Cohen did not have the votes for the lease and rather than being defeated, asked Lehr Jackson to withdraw the lease.

Which do you think is most likely?

Do you have another theory? Please leave a comment.

So, where does that leave the Market House? Back at square one. The City will be seeking RFPs for the space and Jackson may indeed come forward again to throw his hat into the ring.  Last week, Mayor Cohen stated that if the lease was voted down, there would be no one willing to come in for a Plan B.  I guess we will see.

In any event, this was a very expensive lesson in lease negotiations. We paid Lehr Jackson $40,000 to walk away and unknown legal fees to DLA Piper for advice on the negotiation.  Certainly if Lehr Jackson does come back into the picture, he will have a leg up on the competition as he already has all the plans drawn and ideas developed courtesy of the City. Will the City offer the same deal to the new prospects?

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About the Author - John Frenaye

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for nearly 25 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news–and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009.

John’s background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.

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