Skyline at Waterplace appeals eviction, remains open for business

MICHAEL MOTA, the owner of Skyline at Waterplace LLC in Providence, told WPRI-TV CBS 12 Wednesday that the wedding and events venue will remain open for business as the company appeals an R.I. District Court judge’s ruling allowing the city to proceed with an eviction. / COURTESY SKYLINE AT WATERPLACE
MICHAEL MOTA, the owner of Skyline at Waterplace LLC in Providence, told WPRI-TV CBS 12 Wednesday that the wedding and events venue will remain open for business as the company appeals an R.I. District Court judge’s ruling allowing the city to proceed with an eviction. / COURTESY SKYLINE AT WATERPLACE

PROVIDENCE – Skyline at Waterplace LLC is back in business.

Michael Mota, the owner of the wedding and events venue, told WPRI-TV CBS 12 Wednesday that the facility will remain open as he appeals an R.I. District Court judge’s ruling that the city of Providence can move forward with evicting the business from the building at Waterplace Park.

A city spokesperson told WPRI Wednesday that the venue still needs to file a motion to stay the judge’s ruling while the matter goes through the courts. But Mota said “the appeal [has] vacated the eviction – so we are staying in the space until a trial.”

A judge on Nov. 6 granted the city’s motion to evict Skyline at Waterplace, the tenant that has leased the prominent event and wedding space from the city since 2016. 

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Since April, city attorneys have been in eviction proceedings against Skyline, alleging unpaid bills, trash and waste issues, and furniture and equipment being kept outside on public rights of way.

The company counter-sued, alleging it overpaid its rent and was owed money for work performed. That lawsuit was dismissed on Nov. 6 by Judge Melissa DuBose.

The company, which had received several rental abatements under former Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, argued that it was promised another abatement under the new administration. However, the city said it had no record of that agreement.

A spokesperson for Mayor Brett P. Smiley, Patricia Socarras, confirmed Monday that the city intends to begin the search for a new tenant as soon as possible, once the legal proceedings are concluded.

“It is a huge asset to the city and we, of course, are very interested in its potential use afterward,” she said.

Skyline at Waterplace is controlled by Mota, who has been involved in other legal battles with elected officials.

In a letter sent to Skyline at Waterplace on April 7, the city demanded Mota provide documentation of any improvements, maintenance and repairs made on the property since December 2019, as required by a lease amendment that allowed the company to avoid rent payments for nearly three years. If no documentation was provided, the city said it would “seek payment of rent from December 1, 2019, through August 1, 2023,” totaling $270,000.

Attorney General Peter F. Neronha in April intervened in a foreclosure proceeding filed by another Mota company, Memorial Real Estate Group LLC, which was seeking to take over the vacant former Memorial Hospital property in Pawtucket.

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