Property owner of Chinese Cultural Center ordered to pause part of remodeling plans

Posted: Updated:
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

A judge has ordered the property owner of the Chinese Cultural Center in Phoenix to pause part of its remodeling plans and keep its main street sign on until next Friday.

This afternoon, Michael Zhao, the owner of Szcheuwan Palace filed an emergency temporary restraining order with hopes it’ll slow down redevelopment.

"It's a temporary relief and actually I'm still worried about my future business," said Zhao.

The order doesn't stop the owner from keeping up fencing or moving forward with remodeling work inside the building.

Much like a condo owner, he owns part of the building that houses his restaurant.

"The property owner is trampling over my client’s rights," said Zhao's attorney, Jack Wilenchik. "They’re acting like this place is closed down. It’s not closed down."

Zhao said he saw construction workers remove statues early this morning and filed the court documents because he was worried more work would continue through the weekend.

The court order requires the property owner to stop the "removal of roof tiles or any other destruction or improvements of Common Elements" and "not interfere" with the restaurant's sign on the side of the street.

Zhao had complained the owner had turned off the street sign light causing customers to think his business is closed.

Jason Rose, a spokesman for the property owner, True North Companies, told us there were no plans in place to remove roof tiles or do extensive exterior work through the weekend.

Part of the company's response was e-mailed in this statement:

 "Efforts to redevelop the site of the former Chinese Cultural Center are on track despite a last minute legal maneuver. A judge has mostly denied key portions of a temporary restraining order which was hastily filed in Maricopa County Superior Court. A hearing was held at 4pm today. Despite this tactic, a judge denied the key portions of the TRO which would have halted redevelopment including the removal of a safety fence. True North did agree to a short delay in removing some roof tile and issues involving the lighting of a sign."

The original order asked the judge to approve seven parts which required the owner to remove the fences, dumpsters, keep the parking spaces clear and allow people into the garden.

The judge approved only two of the plaintiff’s temporary restraining order requests.

The next hearing to review the rest of the restraining order is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 22 at 9:00 a.m.

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