On Sunday night, approximately 35 people met at Mt. Zion Church to discuss their efforts to ensure that Scheele’s Market remains open. Additionally, they gave an opportunity to the potential purchaser of the property, Marc Teren, to discuss his plans for the property should his offer be accepted. The group’s plans and Teren’s presentation, after the jump:
As a quick background: The Scheele’s family still owns the building that has held their family’s market for over 100 years. However, the Lee family has operated the market for the last 20 years. The Scheele’s would like to sell the property, which would give the future owner the right to kick out the market and convert the property to a single-family home. Marc Teren has stepped forward and made an offer of $1.325 million for the property. He has somewhat of a bad reputation around the East Village for his attempts to break of the Williams-Addison property, among other disputes.
GM spoke with the primary organizer of the Save Scheele’s effort, Mike Peabody (pronounced Boston-style: PEE-buh-dee). He said that the group is still contemplating making a counter bid for the property. The current tenant of the upstairs apartment, Beth Wainwright, has a right of first refusal to purchase the property. The group is contemplating getting individuals from the neighborhood to gather their money and work with Wainwright to match Teren’s offer. According to Peabody, they are still discussing how much they’d need to raise in equity and how much the mortgage payments would be. They have until the middle of May to match Teren’s offer. Representatives from Mt. Zion Church expressed an interest in joining the potential ownership group and could potentially provide a good deal of funds.
As mentioned, Teren himself attended the meeting. He informed the group of his plans for the property. He stated that he wants to save the market too and would be willing to extend the Lee’s lease two years. He said that he’d perhaps renovate the market after two years, which would put the Lee’s role in doubt. Additionally, he said that he was considering moving into Wainwright’s apartment. This move would give him the right to evict Wainwright and sell the property without giving her the right of first refusal.
Apparently Teren has considered GM’s idea about granting an easement to ensure that a market remain in the property. Peabody informed GM that Teren is not interested in pursuing that option because there’e no gaurantee that a market will be financially viable at that location indefinitely, thus he doesn’t want to be required by law to maintain it as a market. Peabody said that his preferred outcome would be for the group to purchase the property, but also floated the idea that the group could buy the easement from him instead.
In GM’s opinion, it seems that Teren is doing everything possible to appear willing to save the market, but is stopping short of actually guaranteeing it. Perhaps it’s just impossible to promise to keep the market open indefinitely, but giving Teren’s record of trying to stretch the law (i.e., apply to subdivide Williams-Addison property, get application rejected, and then propose ridiculous plan to build two homes on one property with a driveway built through a historic carriage house) it’s not unreasonable for the community to demand something a bit more binding then a verbal promise.
If you’d like to join the Save Scheele’s group, email Mike Peabody at: mpeabody (at) ptmanagment (dot) com.