Lease dispute closes Pizza Hut

By Ben Holbrook | May 11, 2017
Photo by: Ben Holbrook Pizza Hut on Belmont Avenue closed its doors May 9 as the restaurant works on a new lease agreement.

Belfast — Pizza Hut patrons will have to get their appetites for a pie sated elsewhere as the business is closed while the restaurant seeks a new lease or even a new home.

On a sign posted on the building, which is sited at 15 Belmont Ave., the restaurant states it closed May 9 and thanked customers for their support.

“We greatly appreciate your loyalty over the years and hope to find a new location soon, so we can take care of your pizza needs in this area again in the future,” the sign reads.

A Pizza Hut manager, who declined to give his name, said there is a “situation” with the lease and that an agreement is being negotiated. The manager said he did not know when the restaurant might open again for business but said he is hopeful that it will do so.

Dana Therrien said said he bought the building in 2013 and inherited a lease with Pizza Hut from the building's previous owner. When the business closed May 9, Therrien said he talked to the owner of the Pizza Hut that day and it appeared that a deal could be reached for a new lease. However, Therrien said he did not hear back from the owner and later learned the signs and other items were removed from the building.

At this point, it's unlikely Pizza Hut will return to its Belmont Avenue location because the owner has requested Therrien reduce the rent to an amount that is too low. Instead, Therrien said he has other ideas for who could use the building.

"I really want to rent the building to a local business," he said. "I'm willing to work with someone locally."

In November 2015, another franchise restaurant, Wendy's, which is a short distance from Pizza Hut, abruptly closed its doors after its lease expired and the owner decided not to renew.

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