PROVIDENCE — The city’s attempt to evict Skyline at Waterplace LLC from its downtown location at Waterplace Park is expected to go to trial in late February.
That will make it nearly a year since the administration of Mayor Brett Smiley filed to have the Skyline group evicted for longstanding problems including late rent payments, fire code violations, and chronic issues with trash and unpaid taxes.
Lawyers for the city and Skyline at Waterplace LLC told Judge Walter Gorman on Monday that they’d agreed to deadlines for discovery and interrogatories this fall.
This three-story building on the edge of Waterplace Park, with its stunning views of downtown Providence, has long been a destination for celebrations, weddings, and political events, even as it’s changed hands over the years. The facility is owned by the state and managed by the Providence Parks Department, where the parks commissioners control the lease.
The Skyline at Waterplace group signed a multi-year lease in 2016, but over the years, the company was granted three lengthy rent abatements — totaling more than three years — under then-Mayor Jorge O. Elorza’s administration. The Skyline group requested rent abatements in exchange for renovations and repair work that it said the company was doing at the venue.
Its longtime CEO Michael A. Mota also insisted that Elorza gave the company a fourth abatement, which is why Skyline wasn’t paying rent when Smiley became mayor.
The city, however, said there was no record of a signed abatement and demanded payment for months of back rent. Skyline’s owners counter-sued, claiming former Mayor Jorge O. Elorza had granted an abatement in rent, and the city owed the company $54,134 for “overpaid rent.”
A hearing on the city’s motion to dismiss the counter-claim and order a default on the eviction proceedings has been continued to Oct. 24.