$500,000 Chef’s Warehouse lease approved by selectmen

A lease bringing the town roughly $500,000 a year and giving Chef’s Warehouse use of the Venus Municipal Building’s entire second floor — excluding the wing with the Town Hall Annex — has been approved by the Board of Selectmen.

The lease runs for five years through fall 2023, with rents rising from $495,652 for the first year to $526,265 for the fifth year. Chef’s Warehouse also has three, five-year options to renew the lease, with rent increases based on the consumer price index.

Chef’s Warehouse is expected to finance substantial renovations to the building, and the lease allows some reduction in rental rates in compensation for construction costs.

The lease covers a little more than 29,000 square feet of space at rates that range from $17 per square foot at the start and rise to just over $18 per square foot in the fifth year.

The lease essentially expands the area Chef’s Warehouse has been renting, adding about 8,000 square feet to what was a roughly 21,000-square-foot rental.

The additional rental area is the second floor of the Venus Building’s south wing — space vacated a few years back by the Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association (RVNA).

“Chef’s Warehouse is taking the entirety of the second floor,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi said.

Several smaller tenants — the Youth Service Bureau, Ridgefield Adult/Continuing Education, Kumon Math and Loosen Up Massage — have been moved out of the area being rented to Chef’s Warehouse and will occupy different town-owned space, Marconi said.

The selectmen reviewed the lease before approving it 4-to-0 on Sept. 26.

“Seventy-five parking spots?” said Selectwoman Maureen Kozlark.

“It was 50, it’s going up to 75,” said Marconi.

“Where are we getting them?” Kozlark asked.

“The south end,” said Marconi. “The VNA moved out.”

The discussion prompted Kozlark to recall high nets that the town put up to protect cars in a parking area Chef’s Warehouse uses on the east side of the building, next to the baseball field.

“How’s that netting doing?” she asked.

“Beautifully,” answered Marconi. “It’s unbelievable how many foul balls the netting stops from hitting cars.”