Business is complicated and sometimes something that seems improbable happens and, more often, something that seems a done deal comes unraveled. Such is the case with Wild Wing Cafe moving to the Kress Building. It becomes the second business to announce that it would move into the space at 417 S. Gay and then change course. The first was Bullman’s Gym which announced in January 2015 it would lease the basement of the building. By June those plans were scrapped.
Coincidentally, June 2015 was the month Wild Wing Cafe announced it would purchase the first floor of the same building. By September plans had been approved by the Downtown Design Review Board. Unfortunately, by that time the plans had veered off course. September was the deadline for Kress Partnership, LLC (an arm of Henry and Wallace) to use the $180,000 advanced by DNC Lakeside (Wild Wing Cafe Partners) for demolition and other work including construction of an elevator shaft and remediation.
In a law suit filed last month DNC Lakeside alleged none of the agreed work had been completed by Kress Partnership. Further, the suit contends that the company operated in bad faith, not intending to use the money as promised. A Lein dis Pendens was put in place. Shortly thereafter the suit was settled ending the litigation, but the relationship had also ended and the contract was void.
I spoke to Brant Enderle, owner of Henry and Wallace, who said, “I am not interested in litigating in the paper. They had some things they didn’t like and we had some things we didn’t like.” He went on to say, “We have other tenants lined-up who we feel are a better fit.” He said a restaurant and a retailer are going into the first floor, with one taking a third and the other taking two-thirds of the frontage. He also said the second floor office space is 60% leased and one top floor condo of the two available has been sold.
When contacted, Dave McFarland, owner of Wild Wing Cafe, similarly did not want to re-hash the court action, but rather said his company is looking forward. He still loves the energy of downtown and would like to find an alternative location to bring his restaurant to the center city. He indicated we might anticipate an announcement on that front in the future.
Henry and Wallace or subsidiaries also own the Century Building, Standard Knitting Mill, the majority interest in the Conley Building and numerous properties on Sevier Avenue near Suttree Landing Park.