City terminates lease for Sals restaurant on Esplanade Riel
Published Tuesday, January 15, 2013 8:01AM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 15, 2013 6:35PM CST
The City of Winnipeg has decided to toss overboard a lease with Salisbury House, following a year of negotiations over the site on the landmark structure.
“We’ve terminated the lease,” said Barry Thorgrimson from the city's property and development department.
The city wouldn’t say whether the move was done because Salisbury House wanted to pay less in rent, but the mayor said the chain did want to alter its lease.
Mayor Sam Katz said they wanted to change the terms and conditions.
Now, an expression of interest is underway to find a new tenant for the bridge. It might not be an easy find.
The site previously sat empty for more than year when the bridge first opened, before Salisbury House agreed to move in.
The mayor said it could be difficult to find someone because business is slow in the winter and parking is a challenge.
“There is no parking nearby. Anybody who is in the restaurant business will tell you parking in close proximity to your establishment is extremely important," said Katz.
The city is still optimistic, however, a new suitable tenant will come forward.
“Personally I'm pretty confident. Our museum is close to being completed and I think there are great opportunities for this vicinity," said Thorgrimson.
St. Boniface resident Dave McGregor said he found the Salisbury house on Esplanade Riel out of place.
“It seemed like kind of a strange fit,” he said.
“I think you need a local chain like a Stella's or something like that or something that had specialty foods like local produce, that kind of thing,” said McGregor.
Wayne Janis, a Salisbury House regular, said he’ll miss the location.
“It’s just good scenery. You look out on the river. It’s a Winnipeg icon,” he said.
Salisbury House owner Earl Barish said he had agreed to pay the city what it wanted.
He said the issue had nothing to do with rent, suggesting he believes some city councillors want to see a different business on the bridge.
Barish said he will likely put in a new bid, so Sals could still potentially reopen on the bridge, but it won’t be the same one that was on the table.