Dispute delays opening of Chavez restaurant - East Valley Tribune: News

Dispute delays opening of Chavez restaurant

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Posted: Thursday, August 27, 2009 7:06 pm | Updated: 2:21 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Fans of boxing great Julio César Chavez will have to wait a little longer to see him at the grand opening of his new restaurant in Mesa.The $4.5 million project at Southern Avenue and Country Club Drive has been delayed for at least a month by a legal dispute.

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Fans of boxing great Julio César Chavez will have to wait a little longer to see him at the grand opening of his new restaurant in Mesa.

The $4.5 million project at Southern Avenue and Country Club Drive has been delayed for at least a month by a legal dispute over an easement for electrical equipment, said Brian Weymouth, president of Julio César Chavez Entertainment, the champ's development arm, which is constructing the event center.

"We have a battle between the master landlord and the tenant who we lease from," he said. "Unfortunately, we are caught in the middle."

Called Julio César Chavez Campeones, the restaurant will include a sports bar, game area and museum with memorabilia related to the six-time world champ. The developer had planned to open Monday, but Weymouth said the complex can't open until the issue is resolved.

JCC Campeones is subleasing about 24,000 square feet from Kimsworth Arizona, which is leasing the space from shopping center owner PDG America Shopping Centers, according to court documents.

To operate the restaurant's kitchen, special electrical equipment is needed that will require an easement from the shopping center owner, Weymouth said. Kimsworth requested that PDG grant the easement, but PDG has refused, saying it is not legally obligated to do so under the terms of Kimsworth's lease.

According to court documents, however, PDG President Bill Dutton said the firm would consider providing the easement if Kimsworth agreed to pay an annual fee to maintain commons areas such as the parking lot and landscaping.

Weymouth said that charge could amount to several hundred thousand dollars annually.

Kimsworth said it is not required by its lease to pay the fee, and it has filed a petition in Maricopa County Superior Court asking for a preliminary injunction requiring PDG to provide the easement.

The dispute has set back the opening of the restaurant by a month to a month-and-a-half, Weymouth said, adding that JCC Campeones has already spent more than $600,000 on the kitchen.

Kimsworth attorney Don Fletcher said the two sides attempted to negotiate a settlement but without success.

"We asked for the easement, and when they wouldn't consent as the lease says they need to, then we said, 'We need to get a judicial officer involved,'" Fletcher said. "At some point, you have to bring it to a point."

Fletcher said a hearing on the issue has been scheduled for Monday before Superior Court Judge Hugh Hegyi.

PDG's Dutton declined to comment on the case because it's in litigation. He said the company has not yet filed a response to the complaint.

Mesa City Councilman Dennis Kavanaugh, whose district includes the restaurant, said the situation has been frustrating for the city. He said the sides would appear to have an incentive to negotiate a settlement. "This is an important project for the community, and it will significantly improve the value of their (PDG's) own property," he said.

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