The day after WRFA reported the civil suit filed by the JBC against GPatti Enterprises, GPatti sent out a press release/statement from its legal counsel – Rupp Baase Pfalzgraf Cunningham LLC – to local media vehemently denying any wrongdoing in the multi-million dollar effort to prepare the building for the brewery operation.
GPatti, owned and operated by George Patti of Jamestown, is the owner of the former Lillian V. Ney Renaissance Center (and previously known as the Grant Building) on the corner of Washington and W. Third Streets in Jamestown. The operation is renovating and leasing the property to JBC, owned and operated by Jon McLellan Sr. and Jon McLellan Jr. from Buffalo.
In December JBC filed a civil complaint in New York State Supreme Court – Erie County claiming GPatti failed to live up to its end of its lease agreement to have the building prepared for a grand opening by April 2018. Instead, several environmental setbacks have resulted in the operation still not being open – with a new date set for mid March of this year.
“If JBC had been made aware of the environmental issues in a timely fashion, it would not have entered into the lease agreement with GPatti,” the lawsuit contends
In its response to the lawsuit, the statement from Rupp Baase Pfalzgraf Cunningham said GPatti was disappointed to learn of the legal action by its tenants and it would have preferred the brewery work with it to resolve any issues or concerns, rather than filing a lawsuit. The statement also said that JBC was aware of the potential for delays and took on that business risk as part of its lease, adding that the business was made aware of the progress of the work at all times.
And it said that if the lawsuit does move forward, GPatti will vigorously defend against the allegations, and it will assert claims of its own.
JBC is being represented by Ryan Cummings from the Buffalo law firm Hodgson Russ.
He told WRFA via email on Tuesday that the lawsuit was only filed after JBC tried unsuccessfully for months to resolve its issues with GPatti privately.
“The delays discussed in the complaint have presented challenges to Jamestown Brewing Co. and those challenges continue to mount,” Cummins said.
The brewery is seeking damages in excess of a million dollars as a result of the project being 11 months behind schedule.
Cummins also said despite the lawsuit, the brewery continues to work diligently to open the restaurant and brewery.
According to the Post-Journal, the total project cost for renovating the property and preparing it specifically for the JBC business was estimated at $3.84 million. Financing for the project included a $475,000 state Main Street grant that was awarded through the Regional Economic Development Council program in December 2015. The Jamestown Local Development Corporation has a $180,000 loan attached to the project. The IDA also offered tax abatements for the property.
Last week City Development Director Vince DeJoy said JBC was expecting to open in mid-March. Once open the business is expected to employ between 30 and 40 people. The restaurant will seat 280 guests in five different areas.