3 ON YOUR SIDE (3TV) - A new restaurant called Irma's Kitchen is really starting to come together.

[WATCH: Mexican restaurant in Phoenix gets green light to move into new spot]

A wall between the restaurant's kitchen and bathroom is nearly finished.

The bar area has been made ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. And, more importantly, a green certificate issued by the City of Phoenix indicates the restaurant's electrical system is up to code.

It's all good news for Irma Lopez, who's trying to open the restaurant and paid for the modifications.

"I believe we can open in probably in a week or so as soon as I pass the last inspection," Lopez told 3 On Your Side.

But getting to this point hasn't been easy.

In a previous 3 On Your Side report, Lopez explained how her lease at her other restaurant was up soon, and as a result, she planned on opening up at a larger building nearby.

[READ MORE: Central Phoenix restaurant owner 'hungry' to open]

But Lopez says even though she's been making monthly payments to her new landlord totaling thousands of dollars, Lopez says the City has prevented her from opening up the new restaurant.

"It's more sad to see everything (appliances) here and not able to do that," Lopez said as she fought back the tears.

One of the issues is that Lopez's new location is required by the City of Phoenix to have fire sprinklers. According to Lopez, the owner of the building is Armory Partners and knows it needs to install fire sprinklers. But it still hasn't installed the sprinkler system even though she's been paying them rent for months now.

"Every time that I went to the City of Phoenix, they always say it's the owner who has to do that, not me," Lopez said.

In a June letter to the Fire Marshal's Office, Armory Partners acknowledged they're responsible for the fire sprinklers saying, "We will comply with the code granting a modification to install the fire sprinkler system. We will meet the health, life and fire safety requirements."

But that sprinkler system still hasn't been installed.

Following 3 On Your Side's report, the Fire Marshal's Office decided it will allow Irma's Kitchen to open after all, just as long as the installation of the sprinkler system begins within the next six months.

"We have permission from the fire chief that I can move in as soon as the owner starts working on it," said Lopez.

3 On Your Side has confirmed with the Fire Marshal's Office that Armory Partners must start installing the sprinkler system within six months and have it completely installed within 15 months.

3 On Your Side reached out to the building's owner, Armory Partners.

We wanted to know why they continue to collect Lopez's rent if they haven't installed sprinklers yet and if they have time a frame of when they actually will.

Armory Partners replied, "... We're not interested in having a dialog with you regarding the true facts of this situation based on the sensitivity of our tenant."

Lopez is thrilled knowing she'll be able to open soon. 3 On Your Side will let you know when that happens.

Also, a good Samaritan saw 3 On Your Side's first report and stepped up. That person gave Lopez $7,000 to help cover some of her expenses.

Gary Harper's 3 On Your Side reports air weeknights on 3TV News at 9.


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.



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