A popular Anaheim sports bar is being forced to shut its doors amid city plans to overhaul the area.
Seven-year-old 195 Downtown Grill is one of the last remaining businesses on Center Street, a shopping plaza that was sold by the city to LAB Holding development company in an attempt to revitalize the area. LAB Holding, run by Shaheen Sadeghi, who's responsible for launching Costa Mesa's "anti-malls" the LAB and the Camp, plans to transform the plaza into a 1940s-themed destination hub filled with vintage-style shops, as I wrote in my cover story earlier this month.
Most of the businesses on Center Street were on month-to-month or short-term leases and left when LAB Holding took over because they couldn't afford the new rent. According to 195 Downtown Grill owner Andrew Dorsey, his rent skyrocketed from $5,000 per month to $12,500 per month on June 1, even though he had a 15-year lease. He fought the change because under his original agreement, rent couldn't be raised more than a minimal amount.
Sadeghi's company sued 195 Downtown Grill for not paying the new rent, and on Monday, Dorsey lost the case. Dorsey said it was due to loopholes. Anaheim's redevelopment agency, which previously managed Center Street, found the bar was late on rent once in 2009, and therefore, the 15-year lease was nullified. Also, the lease required that the bar serve lunch, and Dorsey stopped doing so because it wasn't profitable.
Dorsey, who is known in the community for hosting charitable events, says that for the past six months, he has "watched lives get turned upside-down" because they didn't fit into the city's vision, and blames Sadeghi for "swallowing the little guy."
"Our goal now is to just let everyone know what this guy is doing and all the people he's hurting," Dorsey says. "These little guys don't have the money or power or network to have a fair fight. I've got 30 employees who are going to be without Christmas gifts this year. I'm more worried about them than myself."
Dorsey's 195 Downtown Grill will host a press conference at noon on Friday, followed by a farewell party that night.
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Today, Dorsey wrote on Facebook:
Yet again, the good guys finish last...
The LAB & Shaheen Sadeghi took away:
BUT they can't take away our last day to PARTY at 195 DOWNTOWN GRILL. Join us as we toast to the end of our 7 year run this Friday at "The Spot".