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Design on tap as Irish pub gets final OK

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Tim Rohrer, co-owner of the planned Jordy McTaggart’s restaurant and pub in The Commons, said design work already is underway for the Irish/British-themed eatery with a goal of opening by St. Patrick’s Day.

“We figure it will cost between $400,000 and $500,000 to finish the space. We’ve already done a lot of the legwork,” Rohrer said Tuesday, one day after the Columbus City Council approved a 10-year lease of the long-vacant space to Rohrer and business partner David Baker.

The pair also own and operate three Montana Mike’s Steakhouses, including one in Edinburgh.

“We hope to finish the design phase, get our permits and start construction by Jan. 15,” Rohrer said. “If we can get started that soon, we’re optimistic about a possible March 17 opening.”

Getting open by St. Patrick’s Day in mid-March will require “a lot of things coming together, but it’s within the realm of possibility,” Rohrer said. “But we aren’t going to rush construction. We think this restaurant is a good fit for Columbus, and we’re going to do it right.”

Rohrer said he was impressed with how quickly a contract was finalized with city officials and with the Columbus Redevelopment Commission, which did the heavy lifting on crafting details of the 10-year lease with multiple five-year renewal options.

Rohrer said Jordy McTaggart’s will be more of a restaurant than bar, and it’s likely to feature acoustic music that won’t overwhelm diners with decibels.

“We’re not going in there with something that’s over-bearing,” he said.

City Council member Ryan Brand called the new lease with Rohrer and Baker “a win all the way around.”

No objections were raised Monday when the council approved the deal. It calls for Jordy McTaggart’s to pay rent of $60,621 a year for the first five years; and for the second five years it will pay $63,377 a year.

The price continues to increase over the next three renewal periods, topping out at $78,532 in annual rent over the final five-year option. The renter also will be responsible for a portion of the building’s utilities.

Brand said the Irish/British restaurant and pub will “fill a niche. It really doesn’t compete with any of the other restaurants downtown.”

Signing a long-term lease is an advantage to the city, and creates stability for the property, Brand said. “I know they want to stay in The Commons as many years as they possibly can.”

Council member Dascal Bunch said the Jordy McTaggart’s owners are experienced restaurant operators who “will help downtown.”

The deal requires Jordy McTaggart’s owners to start paying rent of $5,052 per month next year. That’s less than the $6,888 per month rent that was being paid by previous tenants Scotty’s Burger Joint and Detour American Grille & Pub. But those deals also had included nearly $400,000 in city aid to outfit the restaurant space.

In this deal, Rohrer and Baker pay for all the improvements and equipment for their restaurant.

The Columbus Redevelopment Commission acted as leasing agent for The Commons Board. Jordy McTaggart’s was selected from among four proposals submitted to the commission in October to fill the vacant space.

The original tenants, MSCB Group LLC, represented by Meredith “Mert” Shipman, feuded with the city over buildout costs, utility bills and whether to let the redevelopment commission take over the handling of the lease.

In December 2012, MSCB Group severed its management relationship with the Scotty’s chain and reopened in January as a Detour American Grille & Pub. City officials said that was a violation of the lease with the city and the matter was headed to court until Detour moved out overnight in mid-March.

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