Owner informed shopping center of last-minute decision Tuesday
After weeks of rumors of a second-floor ice rink and the return of the Night Market at Paseo Nuevo, the former home of Macy’s will likely be dark for the holiday season after the market’s owner notified the shopping center on Tuesday he would not be moving forward with the partnership.
Glen Broomberg, the owner of the Night Market, sent a note to Paseo Nuevo’s Mary Lynn Harms-Romo, the center’s senior marketing director.
The note, obtained by the News-Press, read:
“Hi Mary Lynn
I am writing to you to tel (sic) you that I will not be operating the Night Market this year and will be refunding all vendors fees already paid.
The cancellation by Paseo Nuevo of the ice rink component without conferral to us, at such a late stage, set off a chain of events that has made it impossible to effectively stage the event and has cost us thousands of dollars in lost revenue and expenses already incurred.
I am sure you can appreciate that we cannot stage now what we had promised and promoted to both our vendors and the public and there is no way to recover that, you have left us no time to do so.
It’s a very sad moment for Santa Barbara.
Ms. Harms-Romo told the News-Press that Paseo Nuevo had been working with Mr. Broomberg for the bulk of the year, with both parties anticipating reaching a lease agreement. The big hang-up was the potential ice skating rink on the second floor, a project that would have included construction, which takes permits by the city, as well as a formal proposal to Paseo management.
According to Ms. Harms-Romo, none of that had occurred by late September.
“(The agreement) was hinging on the ice rink on the second floor,” Ms. Harms-Romo said. “It was already late September, and we hadn’t received any information, nothing about the structure, the permitting, we had absolutely nothing. We didn’t know if it was structurally a good idea, and we couldn’t properly mitigate the risk involved.”
According to Mr. Broomberg, he had been working with an engineering group to obtain the report on the structure — which he says indicated that it was sound to host the ice rink.
“Paseo Nuevo no longer wanted the ice rink,” Mr. Broomberg said. “It was a complicated project, even as little as two weeks ago, we had a meeting about it. I guess they were getting pressure to make a decision.”
Ms. Harms-Romo said the sudden departure by Mr. Broomberg came as a major surprise, as they had met last Thursday, with no indication that this was a decision he was wrestling with.
“The Night Market had so much success last year, there was no reason it couldn’t have been popular this year,” Ms. Harms-Romo said. “Ultimately this was his decision, as we were working with him all year.”
Mr. Broomberg, who says he has invested $55,000 of his own money, felt that it was too late in the process to shift the focus of his 2019 plans, as he had promised vendors an ice rink, a new draw for locals and tourists alike.
“I was trying to figure out how to salvage the situation,” Mr. Broomberg said. “It was a very difficult decision. As soon as I told vendors that we wouldn’t have the ice rink, they wanted to be refunded. Without the ice rink being a part of it, I didn’t feel comfortable with not following through on expectations for vendors and the public.”
With it being just weeks before the traditional start of the holiday season, Paseo Nuevo will be hard-pressed to find a new tenant.
“It’s pretty late in the season to do a holiday popup,” Ms. Harms-Romo said. “There are some vendors that have been hung out to dry, so we will see if there is something there. We will continue to pursue options.”