The city will lease its building at the Utica Historic Marina for $2,500 a month to a company operated by National Hockey League player Robert Esche, city officials announced Tuesday.
ED Ventures LLC, which is operated by Esche and business partner Alicia Dicks, will operate Aqua Vino Restaurant & Catering at the facility. The site was occupied by Kitty's on the Canal restaurant from 2002 until June 30.
The city chose not to renew the occupancy agreement with Kitty's on the Canal, whose owners owed back rent and a portion of utility payments to the city. There are no outstanding parties scheduled by Kitty's on the Canal that would have to be picked up by Aqua Vino, officials said.
This seems like a great deal for the city, particularly the fact that it's a straight-up lease with monthly rent and utility payments. The deal the city had with "Deadbeat" Dave Morgan was, to be kind, less than optimal. As the studios in Hollywood regularly demonstrate, and any accountant can verify, basing your payments on a portion of the profits is a losing proposition. Just ask Peter Jackson, the director of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. While the films made billions of dollars in movie theaters and on video he's still waiting to see his cut of the "profits".
Now for the bad news: the canal adjacent to "Aqua Vino" is an open sewer. It's contaminated with human waste, and will continue to be so thanks to County Executive Anthony Picente's deft handling of the DEC consent order for the defective Sauquoit Pumping Station. Every time it rains millions of gallons of raw sewage is dumped into the Mohawk River and hence into the Erie Canal via the lock located about 800 meters west of the restaurant. Mr. Esche may not be aware of that, but I don't think it's a coincidence that he plans to glass in the restaurant's deck.
I'm also a bit disappointed that the city didn't accept my proposal for the facility- "McFloaty's, home of the Jalapeno Plopper!". Someday they'll recognize that my vision of a sewer themed eating establishment was brilliant.