updated: 6/18/2012 7:51:47 AM
The president of the Athenaeum Foundation says her goal is to reach a compromise to keep a popular Indianapolis venue open. Cassie Stockamp says she does not want to see the Biergarten go away. Its future is uncertain as both sides try to hammer out a lease agreement. Biergarten owner Dan McMichael says without a new agreement, he's been ordered to stop entertainment events July 1.
June 15, 2012
Indianapolis, Ind. -- Cassie Stockamp, President of the Athenaeum Foundation, released the following statement today regarding the ongoing negotiations between the Athenaeum and its tenant, the operator of the Rathskeller Restaurant and Biergarten:
"We appreciate all of your support. We are limited in what we can say due to the legal matter, but want to provide more information and some perspective from the Foundation.
"Our mission is to maintain this historic structure and community asset that is 117 years old, an anchor of Mass Ave and an important part of our community.
"This is great that we are seeing such support and community conversation about the Biergarten and this historic venue.
"We are a nonprofit and raise funds and donations to keep this entire building open every year for all tenants and patrons.
"Our mission is to manage the entire building, which includes more than just the Biergarten, including the YMCA, Young Actors Theatre, numerous events and other programs.
"We love the Biergarten and don't want to see it go away, and it isn't going away.
"We have attempted to work with the tenant over the last two years to resolve in a mutually beneficial way, and that requires compromise.
"We are seeking an arrangement that reflects the reality that this has essentially become a concert venue.
"The concert activities increase our wear and tear on the building including costs for us that we bear. This includes $6 million in deferred maintenance of which a quarter of a million is to soundproof the Biergarten wall.
"Our goal is to come to a mutually agreeable compromise and to continue to operate this historic community asset and anchor on Mass Ave."
Source: Athenaeum Foundation
Issued June 14, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS (June 14, 2012) — One of Indianapolis’ most successful and popular outdoor venues – the Biergarten at the Rathskeller, has been ordered to end its entertainment events by the Athenaeum Foundation effective July 1, 2012.
Rathskeller owner, Dan McMichael, and long-time event planners, partners and employees launched a campaign today to “Save the Biergarten,” where it’s asking supporters to rally around the establishment, which first opened its doors July, 1995.
For more than four months, McMichael has tried to negotiate with the Foundation, but the final action was the receipt of a notice that the Foundation would issue a cease and desist order to end Biergarten entertainment events effective July 1, 2012. Ironically, that same day 17 years ago, Dan first took possession as lessee of The Rathskeller. McMichael has filed a formal petition for an emergency hearing to ask a judge to intervene; a hearing date has not been set. Regardless of the ruling, the Rathskeller Restaurant and event space inside the Athenaeum will not be impacted.
“It’s devastating,” McMichael said. “I invested my own sweat, tears and dollars into a worn down building and created what it is today. At that time, I cleaned, repaired, remodeled and restored The Rathskeller Restaurant to its integrity.”
McMichael invested more than $200,000 to renovate the restaurant, and since 1995, has donated more than $900,000 to the Athenaeum Foundation. His business makes up more than 50 percent of the Foundation rental revenue. What’s more, when the American Cabaret Theatre left the building, McMichael stepped in, investing over $40,000 in 2009 to help remodel and create more event space and revenue for the Foundation.
For many, the summer Biergarten has become an annual tradition since it first opened in 1996 with Polka Boy. That same year, the Biergarten was the backdrop for the movie, Going All the Way. And, it’s been home to a variety of special events to benefit local nonprofit organizations, such as Make A Wish Foundation, Giving Sum Foundation, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Susan G. Komen Foundation, Little Red Door, United Way of Central Indiana, Indy Reads and School on Wheels.
The Biergarten has served its share of celebrities, too, including Indianapolis mayors and governors, professional athletes and artists. During the 2012 Super Bowl, Rathskeller guests included Jimmy Fallon, Anne Curry and Al Roker.
McMichael began telling employees, partners and performers on Friday that it’s possible the last Biergarten concert will be June 30. But, he’s vowed to fight for his business.
“I am too passionate about this to let it go. This is my livelihood, my family, my history and my future - and to have this happen on the anniversary of my 17th year is devastating. However, I will not rest until I have done absolutely everything in my power to keep the Biergarten alive.”
McMichael is asking friends of the Biergarten to sign a petition, sign a banner that will be erected in the Biergarten, and to let their voices and opinions be heard on Facebook and Twitter. To learn more, visit www.savethebiergarten.com.
“We want to show all of Indy how important the Biergarten is to our community,” McMichael said. “Everything we’ve been able to accomplish has come from the support of our awesome patrons, employees and the loyal bands that perform here every summer.”
Source: Dan McMichael