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Paragon Salon sues city over moving costs
CINCINNATI (Angenette Levy) -- A salon that's operated downtown for more than 20 years filed suit against the city Wednesday claiming the it "has failed to provide basic services required of the landlord."
Paragon Salon is seeking damages for business Steve and Debbie Celek claim they've lost since a development project at 4th and Race St. was announced last year. They are asking a judge to declare that they have a valid and enforceable lease. They also want a judge to grant an injunction that would prevent the city from evicting them.
"It would truly be a wonderful addition to the core of downtown," Debbie Celek said of the project.
But, Celek said the project will force her to move her salon. The Celeks say they've spent $1.3 million on renovating the salon. It's the lone tenant in Pogue's Garage.
In late 2012 the city bought the property. In 2013, it was announced the garage would be demolished and a developer would build high-rise condos and a grocery store. Celek said she was told then that she would have move her business within 18 months, nearly four years before her lease expires in 2017.
"By making that announcement they created a great deal of confusion and concern about the future of our downtown location," Celek said.
The Celeks said the uncertainty has cost them business since some customers haven't booked appointments fearing the salon will close. They thought they had worked out a deal with the city to move to a new location downtown. The Celeks had plans drawn up for a building. But they said the deal fell apart when Mayor John Cranley's took office.
"Paragon has had enough. It needs to take care of its business and assure that it can stay here through the end of the lease. That's what it has a legal right to do and that's what we're going to do," said Matthew Fellerhoff, an attorney representing the Celeks.
Mayor Cranley said he doesn't believe the city should have pledged $12 million dollars for the development at 4th and Race. But he said that was a decision approved by the previous council. He said the city is not telling Paragon that it has to move from its current location.
"What our lawyers tell me is that their dispute is with the developer. We put $12 million on the table and that should be more than enough to deal with this," Mayor Cranley said.
Wednesday afternoon, the Cincinnati Business Courier reported developer Flaherty and Collins planned to pay for Paragon's move to a new location so the project could move forward. The Celeks said they had not been approached by the developer. Council member Chris Seelbach hoped the offer would make the Celeks happy.
"Assuming that all of this comes together which it seems like it's starting to, I think that we're going to see a resolution that Paragon will want to get behind without having to sue the city," Seelbach said.
Steve Celek said late Wednesday afternoon that he had not been contacted by the developer about an offer to pay for moving costs. He said the offer would not have stopped him from filing suit. The Celeks feel the city has treated them poorly throughout the talks about the property.
Paragon has three salons in the Cincinnati area.
CLICK HERE to read the lawsuit Paragon Salons, Inc. Vs. City of Cincinnati
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