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Council approves 30 year BIG ARTS lease

By Staff | Oct 11, 2017

A 30 year lease agreement was approved last week during the City Council meeting for BIG ARTS, Inc.

Vice Mayor Mick Denham said some of the issues that were present during negotiations, such as parking and insurance, have been resolved between the City of Sanibel and BIG ARTS. He said the concern regarding lighting at night in the parking area and shared use path was brought forth during their discussions due to safety concerns.

“My recommendation to them is we come back and review that. It is an issue that we need to look at and decide how that can be taken care of,” Denham said. “I look at BIG ARTS and say I think they should take a lead here and resolve how we can solve this problem and come up with some recommendations.”

He said he was also somewhat concerned about the financial impact, which is required to support BIG ARTS. Denham had requested to put a cap on the insurance, which is not apart of the lease agreement, so the final number is not exceeded.

“To me it seems to be excessive. I understand it’s because of the estimated increase in insurance, which obviously has been heighten as a consequence of the most recent events,” he said.

City Manager Judie Zimomra said the challenge is all of the city buildings are located on one property and insurance does not break out individual parcels of property.

“It’s an estimate of the insurance. There’s more to it than just insurance. When we met with finance they indicated that they saw the greatest opportunity for increase over the next few years and that was for capital pre this hurricane. I don’t think there is a predication, or forecast, for flood and wind insurance in Florida is going to be going down in the near future,” she said. “To the extent that they are part of the city policy, there would be an increase, but we can work over the next month and bring back some legislation.”

The lease states that “as a result of the premises being located within and part of the City Hall complex, lessor shall pay directly and be responsible for the cost of portable water, sewer, electricity and flood insurance. Additionally, lessor shall include the structures located within the premises in the City of Sanibel wind and property insurance converges applicable to city property and buildings generally and pay the insurance premium therefore.”

Zimomra said the question is what’s the percentage of increase because they pay the base rate today. She said it’s a 30 year agreement, so over the next 30 years what’s that forecast.

Mayor Kevin Ruane said he would be interested in some clarity of the chart that shows financial impact and a dollar amount.

“I think we are trying to pass legislation that we need to move forward. We are going to need to do that as we understand the impacts from the storm,” he said.

Another issue, Denham said is the one for having a liquor license.

“That’s not included in this lease. It is something that BIG ARTS plans on doing will come back to us as a separate issue,” he said.

City Attorney Ken Cuyler said there are some provisions in the lease from what BIG ARTS does now in terms of tastings.

“If they intend to seek a liquor license, which the alcoholic beverage provision does allow. It can be issued for fine arts and cultural entities. That does take a code amendment. That is entirely a separate issue,” he said.

According to the lease, “until such time that lessee obtains a State of Florida alcoholic beverage license issued in lessee’s name as a cultural and fine arts entity, lessee may, in accordance with all State of Florida alcoholic beverage laws, serve alcoholic beverages for events such as wine tastings, catered bar services for events, service of alcoholic beverages as part of receptions, or after lectures, or films, or similar activities.”

BIG ARTS will require all persons serving, or selling alcohol be trained, no alcoholic beverages will be sold, or served to individuals that are visibly intoxicated, and all alcoholic beverages shall be securely stored in a locked storage area when not being served.