CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A sign at the center of a parking lot dispute between two west Charlotte businesses was removed late-Tuesday afternoon after the conflict started getting traction on social media.
The owner of Noble Smoke and Bossy Beulah's restaurants placed the sign at the parking lot's entrance, which prohibited customers from other businesses from using the spaces.
In question was access to the lot for customers of Good Life at Enderly Park, a Charlotte venue located on the adjacent property across Berryhill Road.
Robbie McNair-Guzman, the owner of Good Life at Enderly Park, said her lease allows her customers to park in the lot behind the two restaurants, operated by Jim Noble.
All the properties share the same landlord, Browder Real Estate Group.
"It doesn't feel really free because I don’t have the freedom to even use the parking lot that was leased to me by someone who owns the property," Guzman said referencing her business' location along the aptly named Freedom Drive.
McNair-Guzman said Browder Real Estate Group hosted a Tuesday morning meeting morning to resolve the parking problems, but she said neither Noble nor his representatives from his ownership group, Noble Food & Pursuits, came to the meeting.
She said Browder Real Estate Group ordered Noble to remove his parking signs.
"We are being bullied," McNair-Guzman said. "Jim Noble, not our landlords, Jim Noble seized our parking lot."
Minutes before WCNC Charlotte reporter Brandon Goldner was scheduled to appear on WCNC Charlotte news Tuesday, the sign came down.
Jim Noble released the following statement to WCNC:
“First and foremost, I would like to set the record straight that I am not a racist. I have never and would never wish or execute harm on another person or business, and would never base a decision on race. ... I have no contention or ill will toward Good Life at Enderly Park; my contention is with our landlord who owns both properties,” it reads. “Our lease states we have 100% of the parking spaces with our shared tenants, Suffolk Punch Brewing and Bossy Beulah’s. On Monday, March 22, I found out that our landlord had given Good Life verbal permission and wrote in their lease to park in our parking lot. I had no knowledge of this until this week. I fully understand why Good Life is upset and angry. I am upset, as well, that we have conflicting leases and that misinformation on the part of our landlord created such strife."
In a written statement, Noble Food & Pursuits said, "We believe Noble Smoke is operating in compliance with its lease, which includes all parking spaces at 2216 and 2200 Freedom Drive. Chef Noble is working with all parties to reach an amicable solution for all."
Noble also spoke with WCNC Charlotte Wednesday, saying he wants to find a fix that works for all involved.
"We're trying to figure out now how we move forward and protect both parties and both tenants," Noble said. "There on their side and nice on our side too. So my goal is to find an amicable solution for everybody."
After WCNC Charlotte followed up with additional questions, Noble Food & Pursuits emailed, "This is in the hands of the attorneys for both Noble Food & Pursuits and the landlord. No further comment can be made at this time, but Noble Smoke is committed to finding an amicable solution for all."
Neither Noble Food & Pursuits nor Good Life at Enderly Park provided copies of the sections of their leases where it details their parking allowances.
Browder Real Estate Group didn’t respond to WCNC Charlotte's multiple phone calls and text messages requesting comment. A reporter visited the group's South End headquarters, but no one came to the front door.
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