Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ochs, RTM  Squabble Over Lease

As reported by the Philadelphila Inquirer and Daily News, Reading Terminal Market has sued butcher Harry G. Ochs & Sons over back rent. Nick Ochs, who runs the business, told me this morning that the dispute, in his view, is over when he should have started to pay higher rents under the lease he signed in August. Nick is optimistic that the matter will be resolved and he will remain in the market. RTM General Manager Paul Steinke has told one and all that if Nick makes a dent in the back rent, the suit will be withdrawn.

This may be a useful moment to understand how the market establishes rents for its tenants. In essence what the market terms "Purveyors" like Ochs -- vendors who sell meat, fish and produce -- are subsidized by the other merchants, especially the "Food Court" merchants (lunch stalls). I've prepared a separate entry on how this works. You can find it by clicking here or on the "RTM Lease Structure" Pages item in the navigation column.

At least one merchant I spoke with complained that it's not fair if the market doesn't seek to collect full rent, as agreed to in the lease, from Ochs; that means other Purveyors, as well as other vendors, will in essence be subsidizing him.

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