Columbus halting rent collection for Commons, garage restaurants

The city of Columbus is giving up on collecting rent from its restaurant tenants in The Commons and the Jackson Street parking garage until at least July of next year.

The Columbus Redevelopment Commission adopted a proposal to fully abate the rent at a special meeting Wednesday afternoon to fully abate the rent for Orange Leaf, Subway, Buccetos, Lucianas, The Garage Pub & Grill and Lucabe’s Coffee from January through June 30th.

The city has already abated rent on the properties in full or in part, starting in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Heather Pope, director of the city’s redevelopment department, said that in a normal year from June through December, the city would have collected more than $136,000 in rent, while this year the city has only collected just over $20,000, due to the previous abatements.

Councilman Tom Dell urged the commission to approve the rent abatement, saying that downtown restaurants are facing some of their toughest times ever because of the COVID-19 restrictions. Dell said that the city doesn’t view the rents in the city-owned buildings as a profit-maker, instead just as a way to recover some costs. In this case, the greatest cost would be having to replace those restaurants.

The commission approved the proposal unanimously.