The story about the Portland Parks Department looking for a tenant to take over the Violetta restaurant space in Directors Park changed by the hour yesterday. Here is a recap for all those interested:
The first post –
Portland Parks is looking for a new tenant to open in the Violetta restaurant space. After a long construction delay, Violetta opened on June 18th of 2010 in the West shadow of the Fox Tower, also known as Directors Park Cafe. According to my sources, Violetta has suffered from cash flow problems off and on since then. I speculated that this be happening back on February 9th –
Rumor has it, that a small downtown restaurant appears to be circling the drain. Cash-only from vendors? Employee paychecks frequently bouncing? This place is so small, I wouldn’t normally mention it, but it is also high-profile. Think burgers and a public space. The Portland city leaders will be annoyed. Enough said.
If you didn’t figure it out, yes, I was talking about Violetta. Here is the notice from Portland Parks –
Request for Expressions of Interest
Director Park is a public piazza providing an elegant, clean, safe, and versatile space that is actively programmed to complement downtown, support arts & culture, and highlight Portland Parks & Recreation. It is furnished with amenities planned around the idea of sociable urban living in all seasons, with several small spaces within the larger whole of the park. Programming and events planned for the park reflect its smaller size and its location at the northern end of Portland’s Cultural District amid an increasing amount of downtown residential development. To learn more about the park, please visit: http://www.portlandonline.com/parks/index.cfm?c=52453
Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) is interested in receiving expressions of interest for a café tenant at Director Park. PP&R prefers the business to be open seven days per week, at least eight hours per day.
The available premises are comprised of the café building as well as certain space adjacent to the café, with the building totaling about 840 sq ft and the exterior space totaling about 800 sq ft. The exterior space will be part of the leased area. There are also two common areas that can be permitted through PP&R for special events on a daily basis by the tenant. Parking is not provided by PP&R at the site.
Tenant may install improvements, fixtures, and finishes in the premises as the tenant deems necessary or desirable with approval from PP&R.
Tenant shall pay all costs or expenses that may arise out of use and operation of the café on the premises; such costs and expenses include, but are not limited to, taxes, utilities, trash removal, security, insurance, and/or property assessments. 2010/11 property taxes were $2,275.
As recently as February 22nd, Violetta posted a comment on PFD, saying –
While we usually enjoy being a “hot topic,” we’d love for you to join the “official” Violetta Newsletter at:
There you can keep up with what our (true) plans are for our park location and any new proposed spots. We are very excited to see the company sprout a bit (look forward to a Hillsdale outpost in May), and we look forward to your continued support. Cheers to Slow Food, Fast!
All other inquiries / comments / questions (and in this case, concerns) can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-234-3278!
The owner of the restaurant was Dwayne Beliakoff, previously of Roux, which closed in July 2009.
I’ll just say it is sad to see another restaurant fall.
The 1st update –
Updated with a note from Dwayne at Violetta –
… we have to renew the permit to be there (I signed on in 2007), if we intend to stay, which is our dilema as we have been working on a different format of space for Violetta moving forward. I think folks will like the “new” Violetta better on many levels (like enjoying it in the winter!). The RFP just happens to be a park process, and we’ll be there through April or May or longer if our being there is the best fit of the candidates.
The 2nd update –
From OregonLive Wednesday afternoon-
Some of this appears to contradict what Portland Parks & Recreation department spokesman Mark Ross told The Oregonian earlier today. Ross said that Violetta’s lease was terminated last fall, and that the restaurant has been operating under a temporary license since then. He also said that Violetta had failed to pay rent for months.
And update number 3 –
In a second email Wednesday evening, Dwayne Beliakoff stated,
This is where I’d really like to chime in, but have to be careful due to pending legal proceedings that we initiated, (not with Parks). The lease was terminated last year and we moved to a permit occupancy. That particular issue involves a number of agreements that we had with them (so I can assure you it was not as simple as Violetta not paying rents), and in their own words, “a lease may not be the best thing for that park given its seasonality.” All matters regarding that, were based on joint decision making, and is hardly the crux of the situation. Also, keep in mind that we have had to maintain a hugely expensive offsite facility in order to service the cafe– which was a factor in making those agreements– together.
They have their process and a lot of attention on the park, which we have been sensitive to– but they have known that we were considering relocation.
Tim Roth says
Meh. I mean, how much will anybody really miss this particular concept? I never really went out of my way to go to Violetta. It was decent at best the times I did visit. And I feel like it wouldn’t be too hard to replace it with something at least slightly more interesting.