By Desiree Williams
During the inaugural Mayor’s Night In event April 26, multiple Main Street shop owners voiced concerns about the lease agreement of the old PNC Bank building at 390 S. Main St.
The town bought the bank property and lot in 2013 to keep the extra parking and control what happens with the property. Last year, the town leased the building without rent fees to Boosterville, a small startup that previously housed at co-working space zWORKS.
“We basically allowed (Boosterville) to utilize the building to help them continue to grow and also have an occupied space there rather than just a vacant building,” Zionsville Deputy Mayor Ed Mitro said.
Mitro said the town was not looking to make money from the agreement but rather keep the business in Zionsville.
The shop owners found out during the event that Boosterville is not paying rent, which spurred a conversation led by Karen Glass, owner of Serenity; Steve Schwartz, owner of Ballerinas and Bruisers; and Drew Kogan, owner of Kogan Antiques and Lighting.
“It looks like a repurposed building of just shoving someone in and no one had input on it,” Glass said. “Who is it that arbitrarily just says, ‘Hey, give these guys free rent’ when we are all paying rent, property taxes and everything else?”
Boosterville does pay utilities, and the company runs on a month-to-month lease, so it can be pushed out at any time if another business wants to purchase it.
“I understand, I used to be a merchant in Carmel,” Boosterville co-founder Pam Cooper said. “I understand how it can look different from different places. But any of those guys, would they have wanted this space? It doesn’t really seem like it would fit a retail kind of place.”
The shop owners expressed concern about the appearance of the building because it occupies such a prominent street corner. Cooper said they trimmed some bushes and will plant flowers but there isn’t much more Boosterville will do.
“I don’t know what kind of outside improvements they would expect for a month-to-month lease,” Cooper said. “It wouldn’t make much sense as far as use of capital to me.”
The shop owners asked the town to do something cosmetic to improve the building and to create a better marketing plan for the sake of the town and its visitors.