Winery will be new Slocum House tenant

City of Vancouver has been seeking tenant since theater group left last year

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

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The city of Vancouver, which has been seeking a new tenant for the Slocum House in Esther Short Park since last year, has found one: The Vancouver City Council on Monday approved a lease agreement with East Fork Cellars.

No word yet on when the Ridgefield winery will move into the house, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The city has been trying to find a tenant since Slocum House Theater, unable to pay an increased rent, left in February 2012.

According to city documents, the city put out a request for proposals to find a suitable tenant. "The city was seeking use proposals that complemented existing Esther Short Park uses and adjacent activities, including the Vancouver Farmers Market, concerts and other special events."

East Fork Cellars will use the first floor and basement for "food and beverage preparation and sales, making, bottling, storing and selling of wine, beer and distilled spirits, entertainment and retail business," according to a summary on the city's consent agenda.

The second floor will be used as office space, and East Fork Cellars plans to sublease a portion of the third floor to a current tenant, the Vancouver Farmers Market, according to the agenda.

The lease agreement will be for 65 months, with two additional extension periods of 60 months each. Initial rent will be $1,500 a month for the first 12 months, "With an annual increase of 10 percent throughout the term of the lease. This will result in approximate revenue of $120,000 over the initial term," according to the summary.

With the Slocum House Theater, the city tried to raise monthly rent from $635 to $2,500, citing a need to recoup costs. The theater group had operated out of the house for 46 years.