Monday, January 03, 2011

Staying Put

Last Thursday, just before lunch, there was a malfunction in the fire suppression system in the Columbia Associations data room that required the building to evacuated. When I first spotted the emergency equipment in front of the building I mistakenly thought that the cause was related to Clyde’s or more specifically, The Tomato Palace. Back in the mid nineties I had an office on the top floor of this building and more than once we were evacuated because of a fire in the exhaust vent of the wood burning stove in that restaurant.

The unfortunate thing about last Thursdays event is that it occurred right before noon and effectively shut down the lunch business for both restaurants, and this time it wasn't even their fault. I ran into Paul Kraft, the manager of Clyde’s, as he was standing outside apologizing to patrons as they showed up for lunch.

“You’re closed?”

“Yes mam, the fire department has ordered the evacuation of the building.”

“But I’m meeting my clients here for lunch. This was the place they suggested.”

“Sorry mam.”

Paul also told me that Clyde’s had begun a long needed major renovation. He said that the restaurant was getting ready to sign a five year extension to their lease that clears the way for that work to begin in earnest. I suppose that means that the forty year old building will not be coming down anytime soon to create the “fountain square” part of the Town Center redevelopment program.

Prior to Greg Hamms sudden firing, there had been speculation that Clyde’s might relocate to the ground floor of the former Rouse Company headquarters building. One of the potential redevelopment scenarios for that building shows a space for a large restaurant with outdoor seating on the plaza side of the building. That may still be the plan but I'd have to say that its now unlikely Clyde’s would be the tenant.
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