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Chicken Grease Stinks Up Offices, Lawsuit Alleges


The landlord of Canal Crossing, at 101 S. 15th St., is suing a tenant — the operator of a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant — claiming the persistent smell of grease is seeping into posh neighboring offices and disturbing other tenants.

The restaurant's operations are "producing uncontained gaseous and liquid byproducts which are causing a grease odor to permeate the Building and interfere with other tenants' enjoyment and use of the Building," the suit states. Specifically, it says other building tenants have complained of "a very strong and persistent grease odor" emanating from Buffalo Wild Wings.

Developer Margaret Freund created Canal Crossing by combining an old two-story tobacco warehouse and a former five-story hot-tub factory into a single office and retail building notable for its perforated steel awnings and airy glass atrium. Prominent architect Baskervill and Son designed the project and moved its headquarters there in 2003. Baskervill won an award for its design from the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects last year.

Plaintiff Elf Tenant L.P. alleges in the suit that the grease smell has been a problem since 2004, and that despite "promises of forthcoming repairs," nothing has changed. In July 2005, the suit continues, the landlord tried to enter the premises to fix the problem and was not allowed in.

Now Elf Tenant L.P. is asking the court to declare the Buffalo Wild Wings operator, Belle Enterprises IV, in default of its lease. Elf also wants the operator to pay for repairs related to extracting the stench.

Elf Tenant's attorney, Peter J. Barrett, declined to comment. Belle Enterprises' attorney, E. Duffy Myrtetus, did not return phone calls by press time.

The complaint, filed in Richmond Circuit Court July 12, comes on the heels of a near-identical complaint filed last year. That case was first settled, but was then dismissed on a technicality in June because the landlord's company had changed its name slightly.

Judge Randall G. Johnson granted the motion to dismiss the original case June 6, although he said he would like the two sides to work things out. "Excuse my language," Johnson said in court. "But you all don't want to keep smelling up the building, do you? Is that what you're trying to do?" S

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