The executive board of the Grove Arcade Public Market Foundation has decided to evict the Ali Baba restaurant, which is owned by Ali Sherif. At issue is the question of whether cooking is permitted in the unvented unit rented by Sherif, who has been ordered to vacate by Aug. 8.
Arcade leases state that cooking is not permitted in unvented units. The board made the move in response to complaints from other tenants about cooking smells and threatened the restaurateur with eviction last winter.
The city of Asheville leases the building to the Grove Arcade Public Market Foundation for $1 per year, for 198 years. The foundation struck an agreement with Progress Energy (formerly Carolina Power and Light) to refurbish the structure, and Progress Energy has since sold its interest in the building to Bank of America. The first-floor units are managed by the foundation.
The foundation Mission Statement is:
To effectively operate a premier destination in downtown Asheville filled with successful businesses and educational programs that reflect our mountain heritage and cosmopolitan taste:
The Grove Arcade Public Market Foundation supports the mission by:
• Attracting and supporting a unique variety of retail businesses, restaurants, galleries, and offering a mix of food, products and services
• Encouraging the sale of locally made products
• Creating retail opportunities for locally owned entrepreneurs as well as established retailers
• Promoting businesses that provide essential services to the local population
• Inviting visitors to seasonal celebrations
• Creating vibrant destination in an elegant setting
Xpress has obtained minutes of a recent meeting of the Grove Arcade Executive Board, which are reprinted below.
— Cecil Bothwell, staff writer
Robby asked Laura Copeland to discuss the issue of Ali Baba cooking again in Suite #113. Laura presented an overview of the past eighteen months; the space is not vented to the outside and the lease specifically states that cooking is not allowed without external ventilation.
Ruth and Madeline have met with the principals as well as sent letters notifying Ali Sherif he is in non-compliance with the lease due to cooking. Doug Tate, with McGuire, Wood & Bissette has also met with the owner. Staff suggested that Ali Baba move to Suite #136 prior to the space being leased by Jazzy Giraffe which was equipped with external ventilation; owner declined to move. Additionally staff researched and located a vent-less hood but the owner refused to purchase the equipment. GAR has installed special carbon filters which are changed monthly at our cost.
The Executive Board feels this is a liability issue because we are aware of the cooking in violation of the lease. We also have an obligation to the other tenants in the building such as Four Corners-Home and Jazzy Giraffe who have expressed to us numerous times that cooking odors are noticeable in fabrics and the strong scent of cooking odors permeate their stores.
Ali Baba is in complete disregard of the rules and regulations and continues to violate the lease after receiving a demand to cease cooking on February 13, 2007; his son assured staff that he would not cook again but after a few weeks the elder Ali Sherif begins cooking again and claims he is within his rights because he received City of Asheville approval on his equipment.
Laura said the Executive Board is recommending that Ali Baba be evicted.
Bill Massey mentioned that Four Corners-Home and Jazzy Giraffe have experienced expense with cleaning associated with fabrics and cooking orders; staff to document. Bill also mentioned we might be able to arrange a cease cooking contract if we would reimburse for upfit costs; staff said it would be too costly.
Angie Chandler advised us to have talking points ready; the press is very talkative and we need to be able to tell our story.
Robert Sipes made a motion that staff has approval from the Board to proceed with eviction of Ali Baba after consulting with attorney; motion seconded by Jerome Jones and approved by Board vote.