‘We’re staying:’ Business owner pushes back ahead of lease expiration date

VIDEO: ‘We’re staying:’ Business owner pushes back ahead of lease expiration date

ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCSC) - With five days until the lease expires on a long-time Isle of Palms business, the owner says he has no intention of leaving the city-owned dock.

Tidal Wave Water Sports owner Michael Fiem said the company has been going back and forth with city leaders for more than a year when the city decided not to renew their lease at the IOP marina.

The lease ends on Wednesday and Fiem said he will push back with legal action if necessary.

“They made us feel like we’re going to go into negotiations anytime soon and it was just one thing after another why they couldn’t begin it,” Fiem said. “We’re staying. That’s all I can stay for now.”

He says the company has rights to stay since there are two more five-year lease terms left from an agreement signed a decade ago.

Tidal Wave Watersports has been on the Isle of Palms since 1996. Fiem said he has employed more than 100 local teens from the island.

“We are an attraction for tourism and no matter what if it’s us or somebody else that’s not here, ultimately there’s going to be an effect on the tourism community here,” Fiem said. “I’ve been doing this for so long I don’t know what else we would do.”

Colvin Cochrane has lived and owned property on the island for 57 years. Cochrane said he wants to see Tidal Wave Watersports stay.

“I think it’s really a shame that we’re going to lose Tidal Wave here because of what it brings in to the community,” Cochrane said.

Isle of Palms city administrator, Desiree Fragoso released a statement in response to the owner’s plan to stay:

“Tidalwave Watersports was provided written notice of non-renewal in July of 2019. The lease ends September 30th, and the business is required to hand over the premises and vacate by no later than that date. Council has now voted to move forward with a plan to provide a public park and green space for its residents and visitors at this location, and the City looks forward to this new step. We wish Tidalwave Watersports nothing but the best in their future business endeavors and hope that these rumors are not accurate. Any act by a tenant to holdover would be in violation of the lease and notice provided and, unfortunately, the City will be forced to spend taxpayer money to legally remove them from the premises.”

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