Stein Mart Asks City for Concessions
The following letter was sent by Stein Mart to Rod Irwin, Clearwater Assistant City Manager
Thank you for inviting us to discuss Stein Mart’s future with the City of Clearwater. As Hunt Hawkins, Scott Breedlove and I observed, the city has accomplished a great deal as part of the downtown business district redevelopment. In reading about the city’s future initiatives, we were very impressed with the plans for the Beach Walk Project and the Downtown Boat Slips and see both as ways to further enhance your city’s appeal.
We have appreciated our long-term relationship with the City of Clearwater but as discussed, we will not be able to offer a long-term solution to the city given the immediate problem that we have with eroding sales. The diversion of downtown traffic coupled with the downtown redevelopment has had a disastrous effect on our sales. Macroeconomic issues aside, we attribute the bulk of our sales losses to these two issues. As mentioned, last year Stein Mart lost $77,000 and project this year’s loss to be an additional $190,000 bringing our projected 2008 loss to just under $270,000. Stein Mart would be willing to extend a year past our current expiration date of September 30, 2009 if the city would be willing to completely abate our $150,000 rent for two (2) years and to contribute an additional $120,000 per year or $10,000 per month through September 30, 2010 to cover our losses. As you know, that will just get us back to a cash neutral position. Assuming, that the city approves our proposal, we would ask that our arrangement go into effect starting September 30, 2008.
Rod, given the cost to raze the building and to buy out the deli’s lease, our solution may be the most affordable short-term solution. If the city’s efforts to attract new businesses downtown have a position effect on our sales, we may be interested in extending our stay. This scenario would be a win for both the City of Clearwater and Stein Mart.
Kirk V. Light, Vice President – Real Estate
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