Entrepreneur Fulfills Dream of Opening Up Bagel Shop

Our restaurant operator client always had a dream of opening up a bagel shop. For years, he worked on recipes for bagels and other offerings associated with the quintessential bagel shop like cream cheese and an assortment of salads. Once he perfected these recipes, he was willing to quit his day job and take the plunge to open up his dream bagel shop.

After he identified a space to do so, he retained us to make his dream come to fruition. Our first task was to negotiate the terms of the written lease, which would be entered into between him and the landlord. Since the location was situated on a property that did not allow it to be used as a bagel shop, he was obligated to obtain special governmental approval in the form of a variance under the Philadelphia Zoning Code.

One of the primary points of contention during the negotiation of the terms and conditions of the written lease was to ensure that our restaurant operator client was provided a sufficient period of time to obtain such special governmental approval. If he was unable to do so, he needed to be able to terminate the written lease entered into by the parties. After much negotiation, the parties entered into a binding written lease which allowed our restaurant operator client to terminate the lease arrangement, if necessary.

We immediately filed a zoning appeal to the City of Philadelphia’s Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA). After filing, we scheduled a community meeting with the nearby neighbors in Queen Village.

Prior to the community meeting, we worked with our restaurant operator client on the matters which we believed the community wanted information about the proposed bagel shop, such as the hours of operation, seating capacity, how, when, and where delivers would be made, and the plan for garbage storage and disposal. We also prepared for telling his story at the community meeting about his dream to open up a bagel shop. In addition, we ensured that the floor plans and renderings of the proposed bagel shop looked professional for the community meeting.

The presentation at the community meeting could not have gone better, and we received overwhelming support from the nearby residents. The hearing before the ZBA also went well and, at the conclusion of the hearing, the ZBA voted in favor of granting the zoning appeal.

Our restaurant operator client happily quit his day job and is now successfully running The Bagel Place.

Alan was instrumental in helping me obtain a commercial lease for new business, and then seamlessly transitioning into the process to get the leased premises properly zoned. These business deals can be very specific and tricky, especially if you don't have experience, and one of the most important things is to plan ahead and know what to expect. It's reassuring having someone who you can trust and you know is familiar with the processes all the way through. In the zoning process especially, I would see a clear contrast Alan and other lawyers or professionals who might be there, and it was clear that I had the right guy on my side. One of the most important things to me in a professional relationship is good communication, so I was glad that Alan was someone who I could always expect to hear back from in a reasonable amount of time. Dealing with issues where you need a lawyer is scary enough as it is, knowing that you've got someone looking out for your best interests makes all of the difference.

- Ringo Roseman, The Bagel Place

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