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Popular political hotspot Jackson’s Bistro wrangles with landlord

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Jackson’s Bistro, on Harbor Island in the heart of downtown Tampa, has been a staple of the community since 1997.

More than a simple bistro within the 10,000-square-foot mixed-use property known as Knights Point Retail Center, Jackson’s has hosted everything from political events to nonprofit fundraisers.

And Friday and Saturday nights, the bistro transforms into a nightclub.

In September 2014 Tampa-based Convergent Capital Partners purchased the Knights Point property for $7.5 million, followed by an announcement of plans to spend $10 million renovating the complex, adding more restaurants, offices and a marina.

The existing lease between the old owners and Jackson’s was then transferred to Convergent Capital. That lease runs through 2017, with the restaurant having options to extend the lease through 2027.

Since then, the relationship between Jackson’s and the new property owners has soured. Both sides are now in court accusing the other of breaching conditions of the lease.

The main sticking point appears to be the use of a common area outside the bistro, where customers are corralled on weekends to check ID’s and pay cover for the nightclub.

Jackson’s maintains it has been operated this way for years; they insist they have tried to accommodate the landlord’s concerns.

For their part, Convergent has complained that nightclub patrons were urinating in elevators, drinking alcohol in the parking garage and restricting entry into other parts of the property through the common area.

In a letter dated May 16, Convergent’s attorney declared Jackson’s had defaulted on its lease.

On Saturday, June 4, things got especially heated, when a dispute between Jackson’s staff and Convergent required the attention of local law enforcement.

Fearing business is being harmed and worried they may face eviction, Jacksons filed suit against Convergent claiming, among other things, they are wholly entitled to operate as a nightclub and use the common areas as detailed in the original lease.

Furthermore, they believe they have more than acquiesced to the new landlords concerns and where applicable have taken action and changed operating procedures where necessary, at their own cost.

Convergent Capital CEO Santosh Govindaru, a former derivatives trader at Lehman Brothers, was unavailable for comment.

Raul Valles, an attorney representing Jacksons, did not return calls as of press time.

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