EDDC Not Renewing Leases with Three Businesses in North Park Row
For the past five years, the owners of Khao Thai Restaurant have called North Park Row home.
But by the end of October, that could come to an end.
"At this point we are devastated,” said Khao Thai co-owner Douang Chay Phetsavanh. “We don't know what we are going to do."
The owners recently received a letter from the Erie Downtown Development Corporation, informing them that their lease will not be renewed.
"We we're shocked,” said Khao Thai co-owner Jessica Inthavong. “We are a thriving business downtown, so we knew that the EDDC was supposed to buy into thriving businesses downtown. We didn't know we weren't going to get renewed until we received a letter, so we're just a little bit shocked."
The Khao Thai Restaurant is one of three businesses impacted by the EDDC’s decision.
Casablanca Hookah Lounge and Café owner Daran Masri also received a letter of nonrenewal for her lease.
“When they first purchased this building, they made it very clear that they want all of the businesses here,” said Masri. “What changed?”
Making matters worse for Masri is that she recently spent nearly $50,000 renovating her cafe.
“The cafe, I was aiming to open in April,” said Masri. “But when I received this letter, I'm not sure what I am supposed to do now.”
The three owners, along with Tandoori Hut Indian Cuisine owner Dahrma Jurung now have until October 31, to find a new location.
The EDDC recently purchased the buildings with the intent of revitalizing each location.
In order to renovate each building, EDDC CEO John Persinger says that they need to be empty.
"In order for us to get in and redevelop those buildings, we need to have them cleared out," said Persinger. “As many people know, those buildings have not had any investment in decades. We have ceilings falling down. We have holes in the floor, we really have to get everyone out in order for us to redevelop it."
Persinger says the EDDC will work with the businesses to help them find new locations.
“Under the lease, we were only required to give them 30 days’ notice, but we wanted to help them out,” said Persinger. “We've given them six months’ notice, and we are helping them to try and find other locations."
However, the current owners say they specifically chose to run their businesses in downtown Erie.
“We don’t know if we are going to be able to stay in business if we leave,” said Inthavong. “We started downtown, so all of our business is downtown, so to uproot and move us to a different neighborhood and just hope it works out, I don’t know if we will take the chance.”