PIQUA — The Piqua City Commission approved leasing space in the Fort Piqua Plaza to Locktenders, LLC and Stone Ground Deli, LLC — both of which are owned by the same team that operates Basil’s On Market in Troy — during its meeting on Tuesday evening.
The commission approved a five-year lease with Locktenders to run a bistro in the Fort Piqua Plaza at 110 W. High St. Locktenders will lease approximately 3,578 square feet for $1,500 a month for five years, which Economic Development Director Chris Schmiesing said was the same rate the previous tenant had.
The Locktenders ownership team operates Basil’s on Market restaurants located in Troy, Dayton, and Mason.
“They have a number of years of experience in the restaurant industry,” Schmiesing said. “They also have an established reputation for offering a highly successful, full-service restaurants that offer chef-inspired foods and specialty cocktails in a comfortable setting.”
Schmiesing said that Locktenders aims to open in June or later this summer.
“I think our city is pretty excited,” said Mayor Kazy Hinds, commenting on the response she received in support of this resolution.
Commissioner Kris Lee later asked if the lease of $1,500 per month was reasonable.
“It’s a fair lease rate,” said Schmiesing, explaining it was approximately $5 per square foot of space. “It is where our market is at,” he said.
During public comment, attorney José Lopez spoke on behalf the Jaqua family trust. At the commission’s previous meeting in March, Bill Jaqua, who manages Heritage Event & Catering in Piqua for the Jaqua family trust, proposed that Heritage Event & Catering fill the vacant restaurant space at the Fort Piqua Plaza.
“The Jaqua family’s not here to insult Basil’s,” Lopez said. He went on to say, “The Jaqua family believes the commission needs to look at the fiduciary obligation to the city.”
Lopez said the Jaqua family trust was asking the commission to do its “economic due diligence” as they believed the commission was acting “without competitive bidding” to fill the restaurant space at the Fort Piqua Plaza.
Following Lopez, real estate developer Brandon Virgallito voiced concerns about the lease rate, suggesting that the city was being “under sold.” Virgallito said he owned property on Main Street and that he believed the city leasing property at that rate would complicate him trying to lease his property.
“I think there’s an opportunity there to analyze the lease rate,” Virgallito said.
A number of Piqua residents followed Virgallito, speaking their support of the city leasing the space to Locktenders.
“There’s nothing that will bring people downtown like restaurants,” said Michael Sloan of Piqua, saying he had confidence in the city government.
Diana Thompson, executive director of the Miami County Visitor’s Bureau and a Piqua resident, praised Basil’s on Market, saying, “They have a wonderful reputation.” She added that they have become “a part of the fabric of downtown Troy.”
“I know Basil’s certainly has an outstanding reputation,” Dan French of Piqua said. He added that the combination of Locktenders and Stone Ground Deli “is brilliant” and urged the commission to “move forward positively.”
“I believe this ia a great proposal and will be a huge enhancement for our downtown,” said Lorna Swisher, executive director of Mainstreet Piqua.
Sue Peltier of Piqua also spoke in favor of leasing with Locktenders, saying they would be “a great asset” to the community.
Ruth Koon of Piqua also noted how Locktenders will be operating the alcohol sales in the banquet center, saying it was important to have someone as “respectful and reputable” as the team behind Basil’s to be in the position.
Following that, the commission approved another five-year lease at the Fort Piqua Plaza with Stone Ground Deli, LLC. Stone Ground Deli is also owned by the same team as Basil’s on Market and will lease the 1,400 square feet space located at 122 W. High St. in the Fort Piqua Plaza for $750 a month to operate a delicatessen in that location. Schmiesing said that, once they open, Stone Ground Deli plans to offer artisan style deli sandwiches.
UVMC commits $280K to Lock 9 Park project
In a special presentation from the Upper Valley Medical Center from UVMC President Tom Parker and Chairman of the UVMC Board of Directors Steve Staley, UVMC and Premier Health pledged $280,000 to the city’s improvement project at Lock 9 Park.
“We are quite impressed with the plan that has been developed, and we certainly want to demonstrate our commitment to working with the city in this project,” Parker said. He went on to say that a sponsorship like this one is an opportunity show to their commitment to the “growth and vitality of all of our communities in Miami County.”
Staley said that UVMC believes this improvement project at Lock 9 Park will “truly enhance lives.”
“I believe Lock 9 Park puts an exclamation point on Piqua,” Staley said.
Also during their meeting, the commission honored Vincent P. Ashcraft as a city employee and Mark Spoltman as a former member of the Piqua Planning Commission.
Ashcraft, who is retiring as an assistant fire chief with the Piqua Fire Department, was honored for 27 years of experience with the city.
“It’s been a pleasure serving this community,” said Ashcraft, who received a standing ovation. To his “brothers in blue,” he said, “It’s been wonderful serving with you … You made a terrific but hard job over-the-top awesome.”
Spoltman was honored for serving 25 years on the planning commission.
Spoltman recalled the improvements he has seen done to Piqua during his time on the planning commission, including the Fort Piqua Plaza, linear park, the bike path, and more.
“Keep up the good work,” Spoltman said.
The commission thanked Ashcraft and Spoltman for their services to the city.
Reach Sam Wildow at email@example.com