SPOKANE, Wash – The sudden closure of long-time Spokane restaurant CI Shenanigans left seemingly everyone in shock; employees told KHQ they had no warning.
Apparently, neither did the Spokane Public Facilities District, which has a lease with the restaurant.
"I got a call over the weekend that Shenanigans had closed, which very much surprised me for a number of reasons," Spokane Public Facilities District CEO Kevin Twohig told KHQ. "For one, we have a lease with them until January 31st, but also I have a banquet scheduled here I'll have to move."
A sign on the door of the restaurant says it closed because of the PFD's impending expansion of the Spokane Convention Center – but construction isn't expected to begin until spring or summer of 2013.
Twohig told KHQ the PFD bought the restaurant in January of 2010 at the request of the restaurant owners, because they knew they would eventually take over the space with the expansion.
That expansion was just approved by voters on the April 2012 ballot, and Twohig says he met with the restaurant's owners in the last few weeks, but they gave no warning they would close up shop early.
"Part of our long range plan, our Vision 20/20 plan has always been to move onto this site, but we had just - as recently as last month - talked about whether the lease was going to end on January 31st, and we told them yes it was, and that was the end of the conversation," Twohig added.
The lease with CI Shenanigans is the only one the PFD has, according to Twohig, and a lawyer will likely have to get involved to sort out the repercussions.
"I have not heard from the owners, and I really don't know what the owners are doing, so we'll go through that and see what we can figure out," he said.
40 employees lost their jobs essentially overnight, when the say three people from the corporate office came into the Spokane restaurant Saturday evening, and announced it was closing up right then and there.
Managers at the Spokane restaurant referred KHQ to the corporate office in Lakewood, Washington, for comment. Our calls were not returned.