Chuck’s is closing at its current location Tuesday night. Here’s how the student popular bar got to this point.
Ally Moreo | Photo Editor
Hungry Chuck’s, the popular student bar, will serve customers for the last time at its current location on Tuesday night.
BLVD Equities, a New Jersey-based real estate development firm, plans to demolish the bar and several other businesses along South Crouse Avenue to construct a “mixed-use” building that will include luxury student apartments.
Steve Theobald, Chuck’s owner, and BLVD developers have been involved in a legal battle over the bar’s closing. Here’s a look at the timeline leading up Chuck’s last night of operation at 727 S. Crouse Ave.
City agency tables vote
The Syracuse City Planning Commission tables a vote on BLVD Equities’ proposal to construct the mixed-use building at 727 S. Crouse Ave. after a lengthy public hearing on the subject.
A major point of contention at the meeting is a zoning law that requires a set amount of parking spots available for retail spaces. The proposed project would normally require 227 parking spots, but BLVD Equities asks the commission to wave that number to zero.
A lawyer representing Chuck’s says the bar is “ready and willing” to move forward with the proposal.
Syracuse University community members take to social media to express their outrage about the potential demolition of Chuck’s following The Daily Orange’s report on the planning commission. #SaveChucks trends among students.
Theobald discusses project
Theobald in an interview said he has been in constant communication with BLVD Equities’ developers regarding the proposal. The development firm, managed by SU alumni Jared Hutter and Brian Rosen, indicates that it has secured a “significant amount” of off-site parking spots for the proposal, but does not elaborate on the issue.
Agency passes construction proposal
The Syracuse City Planning Commission passes BLVD Equities’ proposal to construct the “mixed-use” building.
“It’s been a long road, and we’re excited to push forward,” Hutter told The Daily Orange at the time.
BLVD Equities requests tax breaks
BLVD Equities files paperwork with the city indicating that construction on the “mixed-use” building could begin by March. The paperwork, submitted to the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency, shows March 1 as the first date of construction and Aug. 1, 2018, as the last date of construction for the project.
The paperwork was part of the developer’s request for $1.7 million in mortgage and sales tax breaks for the project from the city agency.
Funk ‘n Waffles closes Hill location
Funk ‘n Waffles’ original location at 727 S. Crouse Ave. closes after being a staple on the Hill for over a decade.
Tax breaks approved
The Syracuse Industrial Development Agency approves BLVD Equities’ requested tax breaks for the project. During a public hearing on the matter, Hutter portrays the Marshall Street area as a rundown section of the Hill, calling the buildings that would be destroyed to make room for the mixed-use building “decrepit.”
Community signs #SaveChucks petition
A Change.org petition circulates among SU community members, calling on BLVD Equities to not move forward with Chuck’s destruction.
Theobald files temporary restraining order
In a turn of events, Theobald files a temporary restraining order against Syracuse 727 LLC — the developers behind the 727 S. Crouse Ave. project — blocking them from conducting an asbestos abatement inside Chuck’s. Syracuse 727 LLC is principally owned by BLVD Equities.
Both Theobald and the developers say that negotiations about the bar’s closing have deteriorated.
If the abatements are to take place, Chuck’s will close during the entire abatement process. Theobald claims the abatements would cause significant damage to the interior of the bar. Chuck’s remains the only tenant to not evacuate the premise at 727 South Crouse Ave.
Negotiations cut off, project delayed
Hutter said he has cut off negotiations with Chuck’s, allowing the bar to remain open the rest of the semester, but jeopardizing its long-term future on the Hill.
Because of the upheaval, Hutter said the entire South Crouse Avenue development project has been delayed. The developer also said Chuck’s, if it were to return to the new “mixed-use” building in the future, would have its rent increased by 30 to 40 percent.
“That is an effing strong arm tactic and that is indicative of the sh*t that they have been pulling off for f*cking weeks,” Theobald told The Daily Orange at the time, speaking on the potential rent increase. “I feel like I’m about to cry.”
Chuck’s challenges termination notice
Chuck’s files a lawsuit in the Onondaga County Supreme Court seeking to prevent the bar from being forced out of its current space. Landlord and developer Syracuse 727 LLC had previously served Chuck’s with a termination notice in February.
Chuck’s challenges the lease termination because, according to the lawsuit, the bar does not believe that Syracuse 727 LLC has the proper permits to begin construction for the project, may not have the necessary financing to support the project and may not yet hold a title to one of the properties where the “mixed-use” building will be built.
Syracuse 727 LLC absorbed a multi-year lease with Chuck’s and by law must offer the bar a spot in the space that will exist after construction.
Court hearing adjourned
A scheduled court hearing in Onondaga County Supreme Court regarding the asbestos abatement issue and Chuck’s temporary restraining order is adjourned. Theobald said attorneys representing the bar’s new landlord asked for a postponement and a new date had not been set.
Chuck’s announces last night
In a Facebook post, Chuck’s announces that it will host students for the final time at its current location on April 18. Theobald said he is “very confident” that the bar will reopen for the 2017-18 academic year and he hopes to announce the bar’s new location before the end of the spring.
It is unclear whether Chuck’s intends to reopen in BLVD Equities’ “mixed-use” building, as Theobald had previously said that it would.
“We have to balance what is good for the restaurant and what is good for our customers,” Theobald said back in April. “We had to balance what was good for class of 2017 with what will be good for the class of 2018, 2019 and beyond.”
Published on April 17, 2017 at 8:51 pm