A dispute over a May 2012 lease for the former POD nightclub premises in Dublin is to be fast-tracked by the Commercial Court.
A plan by Altomoravia Holdings to operate the well-known premises at Harcourt Street as a pub and nighclub has not so far been implemented due to the company's continuing failure to obtain a fire safety certificate and the premises remains vacant, John Reynolds, its owner, claims in court documents.
As a condition for a fire safety certificate, a fire officer wanted a letter of consent from Clancourt Ltd consenting to a right of way over its adjoining lands from fire exits on the former POD premises but Clancourt was unwilling to provide that, he said.
Altomoravia then suggested a new concrete staircase might be built to meet the conditions but he was advised planning permisison for that was unlikely as the premises was a protected structure and it would also diminish the premises’ value, Mr Reynolds said.
When his solicitors wrote to Altomoravia to advise it of this, that company issued proceedings against him, he said. Mr Reynolds, whose interest as owner of the POD premises is charged to Allied Irish Banks, is being sued for specific performance of his May 2012 agreement with Altomoravia to lease the premises.
Altomoravia Holdings Ltd, as tenant, and Thomas Anderson, Colin Dolan, Mike Ormond and Ian Redmond - as guarantors of the lease agreement - are also claiming damages for alleged breach of contract and/or in lieu of specific performance.
Mr Reynolds says he intends to counterclaim for orders rescinding the lease agreement or a declaration it has effectively been rescinded on grounds including failure to obtain a fire safety certificate. He is also claiming damages for alleged breach of contract and/or in lieu of specific perforfmance.
In an affidavit, Mr Reynolds said he is the full owner of the premises known as the Pod, Tripod and Crawdaddy. He previously leased it to POD Entertainment Ltd, in liquidation, and AIB had appointed a receiver over his interest in the premises. In seeking to procure a reliable tenant, he had entered into this lease about May 23rd 2012 involving the premises being leased for 20 years from April 17th 2012.
While Altomoravia indicated earlier this month a fire safety certificate was expected to be issued, he believed it was or will be deemed to be in material breach of the lease obligations.
Because the premises is his principal asset and he must honour bank obligations, he had had to formulate another proposal for the premises, he added.
Martin Hayden SC, for Mr Reynolds, secured orders from Mr Justice Peter Kelly today for the fast-tracking of the action, to focus on the obligations of both sides under the lease, by the Commercial Court. Eamon Marry SC, for Altomoravia, consented to the case being transferred.
Mr Reynolds claims the matter is urgent as he needs rent monies to meet his obligations to his bank. While the plaintiffs had agreed to pay €520,000 for 18 months rent, plus €52,000 rent per month for the following 42 months, he had received no rent payments, he added.