City officials were all smiles last October, when they turned the ceremonial first shovels of dirt at a groundbreaking ceremony in Commerce Park for Euro Cycles of St. Petersburg.
But those smiles have faded, and now the city is asking a Pinellas County circuit court judge to evict the company, saying it has failed to build the promised motorcycle sales and repair facility slated for the site.
The eviction lawsuit, filed July 8, follows at least two written warnings the city sent to MCSP Holdings LLC, which does business as Euro Cycles of St. Petersburg.
Aaron Sprague, manager of Euro Cycles, did not return messages from the St. Pete Catalyst requesting comment.
The city owns the property at 600 22nd St. S, and signed a lease with Euro Cycles in June 2016. The lease obligated Euro Cycles to develop the site with a 20,000-square-foot building suitable for office, retail, warehouse and manufacturing by April 30, 2019. The company also was required to create 15 full-time jobs in the same time frame.
But the site remains unimproved, vacant land, according to the lawsuit.
A May 1 letter to Sprague from Alan DeLisle, city development administrator, informed the company it was in violation of its lease agreement. That was followed by a June 19 letter to Sprague terminating the lease and telling the company to surrender the property within 15 days.
The 15 days elapsed without Euro Cycles surrendering the property, the lawsuit said.
“The City has been damaged and continues to be damaged by the occupancy of MCSP and the failure to surrender the Premises,” according to the lawsuit, which asks for judgment against the company and damages.
The Euro Cycle project was one of two developments that city officials hoped would bring jobs to Commerce Park, an economically challenged area west of 22nd Street South to 26th Street South, from about 6thAvenue South to the boundary of Interstate 275.
The second project, a plan by EMP Industries to create a facility to house a cluster of marine industry companies, is also stalled.
The city is looking to renegotiate an agreement with EMP Industries, DeLisle told the City Council last month.