Shapiro’s Delicatessen may sell its final corned-beef sandwich in Carmel this June if the Carmel Redevelopment Commission moves forward with a purported plan to evict the famed restaurateur.
City councilor Luci Snyder was informed by CRC member Dave Bowers that if restaurant owner Brian Shapiro doesn’t pay his back rent by the end of June, the city would evict the business and put the building up for sale.
Neither Bowers nor Shapiro returned phone calls seeking comment.
City spokeswoman Nancy Heck said attorneys for the city and Shapiro were renegotiating his lease, with Shapiro’s rent actually increasing on a weekly basis to better cover expenses. The CRC is crafting a letter to Shapiro, but Heck declined to say whether it included lease-termination language.
Despite lofty expectations when it opened in 2002, business never truly picked up at the Shapiro’s Range Line Road location. In fact, business was said to be so down that in 2010, the CRC entered into a complicated lease agreement with the restaurant and the Carmel City Center Community Development Corporation, known as 4CDC, to keep it afloat. Despite the groups buying out Shapiro’s nearly $2.5-million mortgage, Shapiro retains 98 percent ownership of the building, according to Hamilton County parcel records.
Lease documents from the Clerk-Treasurer’s office reveal Shapiro currently pays the CRC $1,000 per month in rent, plus a percentage rent of the lesser of 4 percent of gross sales or 50 percent of net sales. The $1,000 rent is in turn paid to REI Real Estate Services, which acts as a property manager. According to the original lease agreement, the rent would be raised to a “fair-market rate” in August 2014.
It’s believed the city is asking Shapiro to pay $4,300 a month in rent, but it’s not known if he would continue to pay a portion of his profits, as well.
The property itself was recently valued at $1.35 million, according to the Hamilton County Assessor’s website.
Despite seemingly favorable terms, Shapiro hasn’t always paid his rent on time, the city says. Current reported last August that Shapiro had paid only $4,000 on his lease to that point in 2012, with no payments after April.
Clerk-Treasurer Diana Cordray said Shapiro has been making periodic payments during the past few months, but she said she has no idea whether Shapiro is up to date on his obligations. Heck wasn’t able to confirm that either, and CRC head Les Olds gave a terse “no comment” when asked about the situation.
City councilor Eric Seidensticker said Shapiro has looked to reformat the restaurant, scaling back the seating area to create a second, leasable space, but that has yet to happen.