Boomtown Fate still Undecided

April 18, 2007 2 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Tuesday afternoon, the owners of Boomtown met with the City of Jacksonville to discuss their possible move to the Historic Snyder Memorial Building at the corner of Laura and Monroe Street.

The Park Place Building, which presently is where Boomtown is located, has been chosen by The Dalton Agency as the location they would like to move into.

After months of not so secret negotiations with the building's owners, (including Robert VanWinkel, a partner in the Main Branch LLC and the jinxed Parkview Inn) the Dalton Group has agreed to lease with an option to purchase the building on the proviso that VanWinkel's group can free the building of its various tenants and the encumbrances created by their leases.

While Subway Sandwiches has been invited to remain in the building, the remaining three leases present different levels of difficulty, of which the longest lease is that belonging to Boomtown.  Tensions have risen substantially and both Boomtown and VanWinkel have retained attorneys for potentially massive litigation over the matter.

A possible solution to the showdown is the option of moving Boomtown to the Snyder Memorial, which has been a long term goal of Hemming Park Dinner Theatre, but there may be logistical problems with this option.

The building has been vacant since 2004, when the River City Band left the structure, mid renovations.

Although the band effected most of the necessary work to make the building structurally safe, there were some repairs which were left unfinished as the building was abandoned.

The city has also intended to restore this historic landmark, earmarking funds in order to do so, but was not scheduled to begin this process until after October of this year, however an architectural firm has been dispatched to get an accurate picture of whatever structural work must be completed in order to render the building safe for occupancy.

Although it was hoped that Tuesday's meeting would bring more certainty to the list of options available to relieve the tension at the Park Place Building, this was not the case.

However, the project has at last moved forward, inasmuch as the estimates and engineering reports have finally begun.

While the groups appear to be heading toward litigation, there are ongoing discussions in hopes of an easy settlement and transition.

As it stands however, nothing has been settled.