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Metropolitan Farmer sued over broken lease

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The operators of Farmers Park filed suit against tenant Metropolitan Farmer ahead of the south-side restaurant’s closure on Jan. 27.

In a Jan. 5 petition filed in Greene County Circuit Court, Farmers Park LLC alleges Metropolitan Farmer was behind on rent for an unspecified length of time amounting to at least $133,000, including penalties. The restaurant was four years into its five-year lease.

The suit asks for $60,947 in back rent and $72,237 in late fees, plus any necessary attorney fees. The suit also claims the restaurant owes 18 percent annual interest on the back rent and 9 percent interest on the fees.

In a court hearing yesterday, Farmers Park was given possession of the property. Another hearing is scheduled for March 7.

Farmers Park managing partner Matt O’Reilly and his attorney, Derek Ankrom of Spencer Fane LLP, declined to comment on the case. Attempts to reach Jennifer Anne Grace-Duran, who signed the lease for Metropolitan Farmer, and head chef Wes Johnson were unsuccessful.

Grace-Duran signed the 42-page lease agreement in October 2013 on behalf of Blue Farmer LLC for 4,819 square feet at 2144 E. Republic Road, Ste. B-101. Springfield Business Journal previously reported Grace-Duran opened Metropolitan Farmer with Pat Duran as a sister restaurant to Metropolitan Grill. Barley, Wheat and Rye, the restaurant’s top-floor bar, also closed Jan. 27.

Rent was set at $66,274 annually for the first year and was scheduled to escalate during each of the five years in the lease agreement to a maximum $81,568 annually, according to court documents.


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