WATERTOWN — The owner of Sweet Bean Cafe and Restaurant and his landlord, Neighbors of Watertown Inc., are working toward an agreement to settle an issue — involving a leaking roof — that will keep his business downtown.
Christopher Emeanua said he previously planned to relocate his restaurant from Court Street to the Salmon Run Mall after leaks in the roof caused $12,000 in damages. The leaks, which Mr. Emeanua said he noticed in the summer of 2016 — a few months after he opened — have caused water damage throughout the building. The damage made him close temporarily in September.
Neighbors Director Reginald J. Schweitzer Jr., however, met with Mr. Emeanua and offered to fix the roof, an offer the restaurateur may accept.
Mr. Schweitzer said the organization also plans to forgive Mr. Emeanua’s arrears payments, which the restaurateur said he didn’t pay because of the building’s condition. Mr. Emeanua said he plans to pay to replace his damaged equipment.
The offer from Neighbors, Mr. Emeanua said, would be less expensive than moving to the mall.
Neighbors had planned to fix the roof when it bought the building in 2015, but held off on major repairs because Mr. Emeanua “gave me an indication that he wanted to purchase it” and repair the roof at a lower cost.” Mr. Schweitzer said.
Mr. Emeanua said the nonprofit told him its intention to sell the building and while he initially entertained the offer, he declined; the $110,000 asking price was higher than its assessed value of $64,500.
Afterward, he said Neighbors only addressed four out of an “uncountable” number of complaints about the roof leaking.
With a potential agreement on the horizon, Mr. Emeanua hopes to reopen his restaurant in February or March.