Ace Mercado lease agreement to stick, property manager says
Ace Mercado has offered current Mellos staff the option to stay on when it takes over the lease for the diner in the new year, and promised to maintain the “historical and cultural significance” of the 73-year-old restaurant, the owners said in a Facebook statement posted Thursday.
The hahtag #SaveMellos was born after CBC News reported on Tuesday evening that the ByWard Market restaurant could be forced to shut down by Dec. 31 because its lease was not renewed.
Nearly 2,500 people have signed an online petition to preserve Mellos, which has operated as a diner at 290 Dalhousie St. since 1942.
The property manager for 290 Dalhousie St. said in a statement Thursday that public opinion has not swayed its decision to lease the space to neighbouring Ace Mercado.
“Domicile Commercial Management appreciates the historic and cultural significance of Mellos, and the community’s concern about the future of the restaurant,” the property manager said in a statement.
“However, we do not plan to revisit our decision to lease the space to the owners of Ace Mercado. We are confident the owners of Ace Mercado will effectively preserve the current character of the restaurant within a successful business.”
The owners of Ace Mercado — a restaurant that opened next door to Mellos 18 months ago — were given the option to lease the neighbouring space and accepted, Domicile Commercial Management said.
Ace Mercado wanted to avoid vacant restaurant
Ace Mercado wrote in a Facebook statement that the “issues” are between the owners of Mellos and the property manager, and that it decided to take over the lease rather than see the space sit empty
“The reality is, someone is going to have to lease that space, and we only agreed recently to step in to avoid the space becoming vacant just as so many other restaurants now sit across Ottawa,” the statement said, mentioning Domus Café, ZenKitchen and Juniper.
“Coming into the holiday season we have no desire to see anyone go unemployed and gladly invite the current Mellos staff to stay on with the diner as we all move forward.”
The property manager said that the current owners of Mellos took over a five-year lease from its previous owners about three-and-a-half years ago.
“At the end of the lease, the current management of Mellos indicated they wished to extend their lease. Domicile Commercial Management agreed to a six-month extension, but clearly expressed it could not guarantee the lease would be renewed beyond that period.”