BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — The future of a longtime Battle Creek brewery is uncertain as property owner and business owner engage in a now-publicized money dispute.
Arcadia Brewing Company has operated for some 20 years on Michigan Avenue in downtown Battle Creek. The building is now owned by Battle Creek Unlimited, an organization that works to attract and retain business in the Battle Creek area. BCU says Arcadia has not paid rent for the past 18 months.
After the owner of the brewery went public with the dispute in the local newspaper, BCU responded airing its problems with the brewing establishment.
“There is a lot to this story that hasn’t been shared publicly, as it has been our intention to keep matters private, but we now feel it appropriate to communicate some facts that aim to enlighten the public on this matter,” read a Facebook post signed by BCU President and CEO Marie Briganti.
The post went on to accuse Arcadia of failing to pay as agreed and taking advantage of Battle Creek incentives while expanding elsewhere.
Arcadia’s owner, Tim Suprise, accuses BCU of owing him more than $90,000 to reimburse him for repairs to the building. BCU, however, claims that those monies aren’t due to be repaid until the termination of the lease — another point of contention.
Suprise contends that the lease was terminated in 2014 when he stopped making payments, but BCU says the lease agreement provides that it continue on a month-to-month basis until the tenant vacates or a new agreement is reached.
Suprise called the Facebook post by BCU “libel” and promised “a comprehensive, complete and, factual reckoning will be forthcoming.”
With the building now up for sale and nearing purchase, the absence of a lease agreement has led to uncertainty about the future of the establishment.
“That’s exactly why it became public … Because [Arcadia’s owner, Tim Suprise] felt that he was in jeopardy of maybe not being there and he wants to be there,” said John Hart, Battle Creek’s downtown development director.
Hart says BCU is in serious talks with a prospective buyer and that they could close as soon as next month. The buyer wants to keep Arcadia as a tenant, though is unlikely to do so at the rate previously established between Arcadia and BCU.
The city, BCU, Arcadia and the perspective buyer all seem to agree that the brewery should stay downtown. The question is in what form and how much it will cost Arcadia.
“When it comes down to it, it’s about business, so each of those parties is going to take sort of a business approach,” Hart said. “I am optimistic that we will figure this out.”
Officials with both Arcadia and BCU declined to be interviewed for this report.