by German Lopez
Judge says case is too early to call either way but refuses to grant restraining order
Hamilton County Judge Carl Stitch today ruled against
granting a temporary restraining order that would prevent the trio that
owns and leases the Emery Theatre from evicting the nonprofit seeking to
renovate the building.
The ruling comes as a minor victory to the University of
Cincinnati, Emery Center Apartments Limited Partnership (ECALP) and the
Emery Center Corporation (ECC), the groups that own and lease the Emery
Theatre, and a loss to the Requiem Project, the nonprofit formed in 2008
to restore the theater to its former glory.
Still, Stitch cautioned that both sides potentially have a
case and the rejection shouldn’t be seen as indicative of who will
ultimately win the legal battle.
Given the ruling, both sides agreed to come back to the
judge in 30 days with a status report on what their legal intentions are
Requiem argued that it needs the temporary restraining
order to continue with the momentum the organization has built to
renovate the theater. The nonprofit says it needs a permanent lease to
use and raise funds that would go toward restoring the theater, which is
cited as one of the few “acoustically pure” complexes in the nation.
On the other side, the various groups that own and lease
the Emery Theatre claimed Requiem has shown little progress in raising
funds to renovate the building. They said they would still like to see
the theater restored, but not under the management of Requiem.
UC also continued denying any direct involvement in the
case, instead arguing that ECALP handles the Emery building in its
entirety for the university.
Tina Manchise and Tara Gordon, the two women who founded
Requiem, said after the hearing that the three organizations are trying
to eschew responsibility by pointing fingers at each other. In
particular, they pointed out that UC has consistently claimed a lack of
culpability, yet it’s also getting involved by asking the city to take
over the building.
Last week, emails revealed that UC is offering to give the Emery Theatre to the city.
UC Vice President of Governmental Relations Greg Vehr wrote in a June 21 email
to Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan that giving the building away would
allow the university to avoid becoming “a lightning rod in the private
dispute between (ECC and ECALP) and the Requiem Project.”
If the city takes over the building, the legal dispute
would likely become unnecessary and Requiem would probably be allowed to
carry on with its plans.
For an in-depth look at the situation and history between Requiem and UC, ECALP and ECC, check out CityBeat’s original coverage here.
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 14, 2013
The city of Cincinnati might take over
the Emery Theatre following a legal dispute between the nonprofit seeking to renovate the theater, and the group of leasers and owners trying
to push the nonprofit out of the building.
The Requiem Project sues UC over its Emery Theatre contract; UC and its lessees shift the blame
14 Comments · Wednesday, August 7, 2013
The University of Cincinnati and the chain of command
between it and the Emery Theatre are giving conflicting explanations about
whose decision it was to cut the Requiem Project out of the picture.
by Danny Cross
Posted In: News
at 03:50 PM | Permalink
Organization faced eviction with management agreement set to expire Aug. 3
The Requiem Project filed a complaint today asking a judge
to force the Emery Theater’s operating entity to enter into a long-term
lease with the organization.
On Monday, Judge Carl Stitch is scheduled to rule on a motion to
grant a temporary restraining order to stop the Requiem from being
evicted from the building. The complaint states that the Emery Center
Corporation asked Requiem to vacate the theater by Aug. 3 and has
requested that Requiem return its keys to the building. It asks the court to declare that the Requiem is entitled to a long-term lease of the property based on a 2010 agreement that the two sides would work toward a long-term lease.The Requiem Project is a nonprofit organization that
formed in 2008 to redevelop the Emery Theater, a 1,600-seat,
acoustically pure concert space on Walnut Street in Over-the-Rhine. The
theater entrance is on the west side of the building at the corner of
Walnut and Central Parkway, which includes Coffee Emporium and about 60
apartments. Requiem founders Tina Manchise and Tara Gordon have programmed events at the venue during the past few years under
temporary occupancy permits. The theater is not eligible for a permanent certificate of occupancy because it needs significant renovations — it currently doesn't have working plumbing or heat. Still, organizers have produced individual events, sometimes bringing in portable toilets and taking other measures to make the space functional. In April, the
Emery hosted the Contemporary Dance Theater’s 40th anniversary
celebration. It also hosted three nights of live music during last fall’s MidPoint Music Festival, which is owned and operated by CityBeat. MidPoint organizers were unable to secure the venue for this year’s event.
The theater is operated by the Emery Center Corporation
(ECC), a nonprofit organization that subleases the theater from the
Emery Center Apartments Limited Partnership (ECALP), a for-profit
corporation that holds a long-term lease to the building from UC. All
three parties — UC, ECC and ECALP — are named as defendants in the
University of Cincinnati spokesperson Greg Hand declined
to comment, only stating that UC doesn’t have a relationship with the
Requiem Project because Requiem works directly with the ECC, which subleases part of the building from ECALP. The Requiem Project alleges that the intent all along was
for ECC to lease the space to Requiem long-term, not just for Requiem to program
events under a management agreement. According to the complaint, the
Requiem and ECC in 2010 signed a Letter of Intent, which stated that the
ECC would enter into a lease agreement with the Requiem “on
substantially similar terms” as the ECC’s current deal with ECALP, the
for-profit entity that oversees the rest of the building. That lease,
signed in 1999, is for 40-years and renewable for another 40 years after
The two sides entered into a management agreement while
negotiating the long-term lease, but the lease was never agreed upon.
The most recent yearlong management agreement is set to expire Aug. 3.
ECC informed Requiem Jan. 16 that it would not renew the current agreement “for no cause,” according to the complaint.
The complaint alleges that the theater cannot obtain a
permanent certificate of occupancy because ECALP removed the heat and
water systems while renovating part of the building into apartments,
which were developed to raise revenue for the eventual renovation of the
theater. The renovations of the apartments left the theater without
running water, heat, bathrooms or fire escapes, according to the
complaint, which notes that ECC let the theater sit empty between the
time it took over its management in 1999 and when the Requiem Project came
along in 2008. A permanent certificate of occupancy would allow regular programming in the theater, but the venue needs considerable
renovations to qualify. "UC refuses to even meet with the parties to outline its demands," the complaint states. "ECC and ECALP have stopped replying to Requiem's reasonable proposals."
The hearing is scheduled for 1:45 p.m. Monday.