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Cameo files court complaint against Castle Community

Restaurant claims use of space by church and coffee vendor at different times violated 2018 lease agreement.

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The Castle in downtown Rochester. Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin
Joe Ahlquist
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ROCHESTER — The restaurant on the first floor of the Castle Community building claims an agreement for uses of the upper floors has hindered its business.

Cameo At The Castle, 121 N. Broadway Ave., filed a civil complaint Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, against the Castle Community LLC, Threshold Arts LLC and related parties, alleging the use of space by Echo Church and Queen City Coffee & Juice in recent years violates its restaurant lease.

“Castle breached the restaurant lease by agreeing to lease the second and third floors of the premises to a tenant whose presence fundamentally alters the anticipated character and use of the premises and interferes with Cameo’s quiet and peaceable possession of the premises,” the complaint states in connection to Echo Church’s use of the floors since September 2020.

The agreement with Echo Church followed the building’s closure, which included Cameo, after the COVID-19 pandemic began.

When Cameo reopened, Echo Church remained in the building.

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The civil complaint alleges the church altered the intended nature of the building, which restaurant owners claim called for creating “a bustling, rejuvenated community and social gathering space and event space and that Cameo would have the exclusive right to sell food and/or beverages to visitors, patrons, and event attendees at the premises.”

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Court documents claim restaurant owner Zach Ohly would not have signed the 2018 lease or contributed more than $400,000 toward improvements to the building, which was purchased from the city of Rochester, if he had known how the upstairs space would eventually be used.

The civil complaint also says the addition of Queen City Coffee & Juice in 2019 is a violation of Cameo’s lease agreement.

While Queen City moved out when the Castle temporarily closed, owner Bre Holtan has stated she plans to return when space is available.

The Castle Community recently received a three-month extension to a city order citing Echo Church’s current use of the space as a contract breach , since the sale of the building hinged on specific public uses.

While work continues in addressing the city’s concerns, the Cameo complaint states it is seeking undetermined financial relief and an end to its lease and other agreements with the Castle Community and Threshold Arts.

Court records show Castle Community and Threshold Arts were notified of the pending court action in October, but related documents were not filed until Jan. 5.

Responses from Castle Community and Threshold Art have not yet been filed, according to court documents.

Randy Petersen joined the Post Bulletin in 2014 and became the local government reporter in 2017. An Elkton native, he's worked for a variety of Midwest papers as reporter, photographer and editor since graduating from Winona State University in 1996. Readers can reach Randy at 507-285-7709 or rpetersen@postbulletin.com.
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