Either pay Lafayette Music for the actual costs of moving its business or leave the Benassi’s alone for the 3 years remaining on their lease.
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Lafayette Music is a locally owned, mom & pop music store that has been in Lafayette for more than 20 years. It is a vital community resource for local musicians, both young and old, beginner and professional. Flatirons Community Church, which some sources claim is the 13th largest church in the United States, purchased the building in which Lafayette Music is located in February of this year for $2.75 million. Having purchased the building with the erroneous assumption that Lafayette Music would be gone before they took possession, Flatirons now cannot begin work on their multi-million dollar office development until Lafayette Music moves out of its current space. The problem is that even though Lafayette Music still has 3 years remaining on its lease at a rate significantly below the current market, the most Flatirons is willing to pay for Lafayette Music to move is $152,000, an amount the pastors at Flatirons know full well is less than a third of what such a move will actually cost after figuring in all the direct and indirect expenses of remodeling, moving, additional rent, lost business and incidentals.
Since Lafayette Music has refused to accept the church’s cash offer to move, Flatirons has now decided to attempt to use what they see as a loophole in its lease to force Lafayette Music into a makeshift combination of a former restaurant and a former tavern. This move will cost Lafayette Music well over $100,000 in out-of-pocket expenses just to make it usable and Flatirons has already made it clear that they will not reimburse those expenses. This move will, at the least, significantly reduce Lafayette Music's income and might potentially put them out of business entirely. Of course, Lafayette Music will have to continue paying the church the same rent they are paying now and, assuming they are still in business 3 years from now, they will have to completely leave the center in 2018 at the end of their lease because Flatirons has already made it clear that the lease will not be renewed because Flatirons is “revamping” the look of the center and Lafayette Music does not fit their new look.
Lafayette Music is now on pace to be the 9th business in Lafayette Marketplace to leave the center as a consequence of the church's efforts to create their concept of what a community is. At this point, 6 of the businesses that were in this center when the church decided to purchase it have either left the city or closed entirely. The 7th business to leave, Bistro503, has just closed to make room for the Lafayette Music relocation and has not yet reopened somewhere else, and the 8th, Crossroads Tavern, is also about to be shut down so that Lafayette Music can be forced to occupy its space as well.
If Flatirons Community Church wants to spend millions of dollars of their congregants' tax-free donations to build an office building, they are free to do so; forcing tax-paying businesses and residents of the local community to indirectly help fund their project by bearing costs the church should rightfully bear is another matter.
For more information on the struggle between Flatirons Community Church and Lafayette Music, you can go to the Lafayette Music Facebook page, facebook.com/lafayettemusicstore, the Lafayette Music Legal Expense Fund at GoFundMe, gofundme.com/t7y5dbs, or our web page, lafayettemusic.com.
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