The City of South Bend knew it would be difficult to re-fill the building that has housed the College Football Hall of Fame since 1995.
Now it looks like it may be a challenge to ‘empty’ the building.
“We’re fighting as to whether or not we have a right to stay here,” said Robert Guros of Jersey Mike’s.
The College Football Hall of Fame isn’t the only tenant in the building. Jersey Mike’s sandwich shop has operated a restaurant in the lobby for about 12 years.
“Our lease runs until September of 2015, so we thought, well we're going to be here until 2015,” Guros said. “I’ve put several hundred thousand dollars into this business, we've been here since the year 2000, we've been here for over 12 years, we've got a great bunch of loyal customers I feel I'll be letting down by having to get out of here.”
In light of the circumstances, the city recently served notice that the Jersey Mike’s lease was being cancelled.
While Guros has decided to shut down the restaurant on December 21st, he adds, “We’re going to leave our equipment here because this is going to have to go to a legal arena to find out whether or not the city is right, or whether we’re right.”
The situation means the city will have to fight to empty and re-fill the building at the same time. “We continue to entertain options we’ve received some interest in the building and we anticipate that we will receive some formal offers and proposals in the first quarter of 2013,” said Scott Ford.
Ford could not be more specific about possible future uses for the building, although he expressed the opinion that things could move quickly.
The city today hired a property manager to keep the hall in working order while it is vacant. The property management contract runs for a period of six months.