Attorneys for a Turkish delicatessen owner and a Salt Lake developer have reached an agreement permitting the deli owner to keep his small downtown shop open until the developers demolish it to make way for a 14-story high-rise.
Rod Abbassi, owner of the Petite Deli & Cafe, 105 E. Third South, dropped charges that Broadway Centre Ltd. fraudulently induced him to lease his shop by falsely telling him he could stay there for 10 years, attorney Lynn Spafford said Monday.Under the agreement reached Friday while attorneys huddled outside 3rd District Court, Abbassi can stay in his shop rent free until Jan. 31. Additionally, back rent and other penalties are forgiven, Spafford said.
The agreement, however, allows Abbassi to sue Commerce Properties Inc., a leasing agent for Broadway, on the same charges, Spafford said. Spafford expects to file the charges by Dec. 18.
Abbassi said he wants $22,500 for the "blood and soul" he invested to make improvements in his small cafe under the pretense, as he said he was told by Commerce, that he could stay there for another 10 years.
Abbassi said his plans for a successful restaurant, the epitome of the "American Dream," were cut short when Broadway announced plans to raze Abbassi's shop and others in February to construct a 14-story office tower.
The agreement is a small victory, Spafford said, because it enables Abbassi to maintain his business through the holidays while retaining the right to claim damages against Commerce, "whom we see to be the culpable party."
"We haven't done anything wrong," said Bill D'Evelyn, part owner of Commerce Property, adding that Abbassi was not told he could stay for 10 years in his shop and that he could be evicted at any time.
Broadway Project Manager Richard Nordlund said Abbassi has refused Broadway's efforts to help him relocate his shop free of charge. "Of all the people we talked to, he's the only one to refuse our services," he said.
The city's Redevelopment Agency has asked Broadway to reach an agreement with Abbassi before they will consider offering the developers a tax-increment break.