On Friday, October 16, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library signed a new lease with Coventry PEACE, Inc., the nonprofit tenant of the former Coventry School building, which is owned by the Library. The original term of the lease is effective October 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021. Coventry PEACE will have the option to renew the lease for a nine-year term, and nine subsequent 10-year Option Terms, for up to a combined total of 99 years.
Coventry PEACE is made up of local nonprofit organizations that include Ensemble Theatre, Artful, Lake Erie Ink, Future Heights, Reaching Heights, and the CHUH Teacher’s Union. Prior to the new lease, these organizations had been on month-to-month leases with the Library after their previous leases expired on June 30, 2020. Since then, Heights Libraries and Coventry PEACE have been negotiating a new lease that will help the fledgling organization get on its feet while still covering the costs of its occupancy as well as paying rent.
During the original term of the new lease, Coventry PEACE will pay a monthly utility estimate in the amount of $10,000 to reimburse the Library’s utilities payments for the building, until those utilities are transferred to the tenant’s name. Additionally, Coventry PEACE will be responsible for all repairs and maintenance for the building (and a phased-in area surrounding the building in subsequent years). The current lease does make an exception for any necessary repair in excess of $10,000, where the Library will advance funds to complete the repair, and Coventry PEACE will reimburse the Library at the conclusion of the current lease.
The base rent payments in the current lease will be $500.00 per month. If Coventry PEACE extends the lease after December 31, 2020, the rent will increase to $1,000 per month in 2022, to $2,000 per month in 2023, and then increase by 3 percent for the remainder of the nine-year term, beginning in 2024.
To exercise any of its options to extend the lease, Coventry PEACE must maintain good standing as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. The Lease also requires that it submit annual financial reports and a fundraising plan to the Library, as well as reserve an ex officio position on its Board for a member of the Library Board.
“Both organizations have worked very hard to create an agreement that meets the needs of each,” said Heights Libraries Director Nancy Levin. “We hope that this new agreement will allow the tenants to stabilize their finances and take care of the building, while continuing to work on their missions. And the Library can now focus on enhancing the park and green space for the community.”
Heights Libraries obtained the six-acre Coventry PEACE Campus property–which includes the former Coventry Elementary School, a public playground, parking lot, and adjoining green space– in March 2018, when it was transferred from the Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District to the Library. Ohio Revised Code allows school districts to transfer property titles to libraries in their communities.
At the time of the transfer, the building housed the current tenants.