Wedding offer expires, JEM Hospitality moving events out of Sarcoa
Move comes less than a week after Waterfront Trust locked Sarcoa's doors, saying it owes back rent
Weddings and events planned at Sarcoa over the next few months are being moved to other venues, after an agreement between the Waterfront Trust and JEM Hospitality group fell through.
It's the latest in a complicated saga between the trust and the owners of the beleaguered waterfront restaurant, after its lease was terminated last week.
The Hamilton Waterfront Trust announced in a press release late Thursday that JEM had "declined an offer" to use the former Sarcoa premises through to the end of September to accommodate existing event bookings.
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"Although it was under no obligation to do so, in an effort to avoid the disruption associated with the cancellation of events during this period, the Trust had offered the use of the premises to JEM for a fee that was less than its costs," the trust said in the news release. "Notwithstanding that, the offer was declined by JEM."
"HWT's current agreement with JEM will therefore expire [Thursday] evening."
That means no events or bookings are happening there at all, the trust's lawyer Louis Frapporti confirmed.
According to a notice the trust placed on Sarcoa's doors last week, sharing the premises with JEM Hospitality Group without consent was one of the breaches of Sarcoa's contract — alongside a failure to pay more than $226,000 in rent.
In an emailed statement to CBC News, JEM's Mike Attard said the group had always paid its rent to Sarcoa, the restaurant was not making its own payments to the waterfront trust.
"We have been pleading with the trust to allow us to continue and had worked out some temporary arrangements. Unfortunately, the waterfront trust was not willing to provide a long-term lease. Any arrangements would have required us to cancel most of our upcoming events," he said. Attard added that the group has confirmed bookings well into 2018, and many of those events are weddings.
"Rather than lay off our staff and disappoint our guests, many of whom have trusted us with their wedding, we have identified another venue."
Attard says that JEM will soon be announcing details of an "arrangement" with the Burlington Atrium, which will include access to three other venues.
"We are very disappointed that we have been forced to take this step," he said. "Nonetheless, we are going to ensure that our guests enjoy their special day in an excellent location."