After just six months in operation, the new restaurant at Kennedy Recreation Center owes the City of Trenton about $55,000 in back rent and utility costs.
Legends 1926 Bar and Grill, located on the second floor of the ice arena, has fallen into default after not paying several rent and utility payments since opening in March, according to City Administrator Jim Wagner.
Wagner said negotiations are currently underway to resolve the financial issues, as well as issues regarding the security of the building.
"We do not have a revised agreement in place," Wagner said.
A recent agreement with the Kennedy Restaurant Group LLC allowed the city to reopen the main floor concession stand, which was closed after the restaurant opened.
Wagner also negotiated utility costs, which he said were grossly underestimated when the city initially entered into a contract with the restaurant group.
The restaurant group currently pays 5 percent of the total utility costs for the entire ice arena building. However, Wagner said 5 percent is not enough to cover the total usage at Legends.
Recently, city administration consulted Honeywell to come up with an estimate of the anticipated utility costs for the restaurant. The consultant estimated the city was subsidizing about $2,500 per month in utility costs for the restaurant.
Wagner is currently negotiating with the restaurant group to lower the monthly rent from $3,500, while increasing their financial responsibility for utilities to either direct billing or 12 percent of all utilities for the building.
Direct billing would allow DTE Energy to bill the restaurant diectly.
The restaurant group is disputing the city's estimated utility costs, according to Wagner.
The city isn't the only entity to which the restaurant group owes money.
The restaurant group owes RAM & Sons Building & Contracting about $25,500 for work performed at Legends, according to RAM & Sons owner Russ McNamee.
RAM & Sons has placed a lien on the Kennedy Recreation Center due to nonpayment. However, it is illegal for a lien to be placed on a public building.
McNamee would not comment on the legal issues regarding the lien, but said it would be lifted after the total overdue amount is paid.
Wagner said there are also security concerns regarding the hours in which the restaurant is closed. Wagner wants the restaurant group to secure Legends during hours in which the restaurant is closed, but the ice arena is open. Legends opens at 4 p.m. and Kennedy opens at 9 a.m.
A representative of the Kennedy Restaurant Group LLC could not be reached for comment.