toronto_sun_logoTORONTO – Sue-Ann Levy – A city committee will be asked Tuesday to approve transferring a controversial restaurant lease with Tuggs Inc. on a prime stretch of the eastern waterfront to catering giant Cara Foods.

And despite the terms of the original city lease with Tuggs Inc. — which stipulates that “written consent” must be obtained from the city to transfer the lease — the new Cara Foods restaurant, Carters Landing, has been operating on the premises since July 1.

A recent site visit to the restaurant also suggested it has been completely renovated — changed from the completely white interior of its predecessor, Paralia, to walls of dark wood.

The report to the city’s government management committee asks councillors to allow Tuggs Inc. — owned by George Foulidis — to assign (transfer) part of his lease to Cara Foods, which will be responsible to pay the base rent, additional rent and realty taxes.

The city report states that Cara will sublease back to Tuggs Inc. the portions of the lease pertaining to concessions at Kew Gardens and D.D. Summerville Pool, along with the Tim Hortons and Athens Pastries and Cafe franchises. Foulidis will also continue to hold the exclusive rights to food, beverage and trinket sales related to any sponsorships that may occur in Woodbine Beach Park, Ashbridges Bay Park, Beaches Park and Kew Gardens Park.

The amount to be paid by Tuggs to Cara is not noted in the city report. However, according to the original 2010 city lease with Foulidis, this year a total of $235,000 is owed to the city (or less than $20,000 a month) for the exclusive rights to this prime stretch of the Beach. Some $10,000 of it is for sponsorship rent.

It’s been six years since Foulidis was awarded the controversial sole-sourced contract, one that locked up the eastern waterfront for 20 years. It also cost longtime Councillor Sandra Bussin her seat in the 2010 election over her efforts to lobby for Tuggs Inc. — describing it as a “good and successful mom and pop kind of operation” — instead of issuing a tender.

In return, Foulidis made $2.15 million in capital improvements to the original premises,

Parks, Forestry and Recreation (PFR) spokesman Matthew Cutler, in response to a flurry of questions about the committee report, advised that section 3.13 of the original lease allows Foulidis to transfer it and to not indicate his reasons for doing so.

That section, however, notes that: “The tenant covenants with the city not to assign This Agreement either in whole or in part without the prior written consent of the city.”

When originally approached a month ago, Cutler insisted that “to the city’s knowledge” the premises had not been “subleased” to Cara.

But in an Aug. 3 e-mail exchange, Steve Pelton, senior v-p for Cara’s Landing restaurants, indicated that he’s “very happy” that the company has been able to “get Carters Landing open for a part of this summer and for many years to come.”

And the city report to committee next week — penned by Joe Casali of the city’s real estate services and Ann Ulusoy of PFR, states that pending the decision of council, Tuggs has “allowed Cara to operate at the premises as a third party” of the tenant.

Cutler also insisted that Cara has not renovated the building in which it now operates Carters Landing — that only the tenant can make routine maintenance and upgrades to the interior and exterior of the building.

Efforts to reach the councillor who beat Bussin in 2010 in large part due to the controversy over the lease, Mary-Margaret McMahon, have been unsuccessful.

Beach resident and lawyer Martin Gladstone suggested that once again McMahon is MIA even though she promised when she ran in 2010 that this kind of issue with the lease would not happen again.

“The assignment, like the lease itself, was done behind closed doors with no public input,” he says.

“She should be leading the charge at city council to vote against the assignment from Tuggs to Cara Foods.”

McMahon’s office can be reached at 416-392-1376. 

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