THE ACADEMY, INC., d/b/a HAAS HALL ACADEMY, and MARTIN SCHOPPMEYER, JR. APPELLANTS
PARADIGM BUILDING, LLC APPELLEE
FROM THE WASHINGTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 72CV-15-554]
HONORABLE BETH STOREY BRYAN, JUDGE
ON DIRECT APPEAL; AFFIRMED ON CROSS-APPEAL
& Co., PLLC, by: Tim J. Cullen; Henry Law Firm, by: Mark
Murphey Henry and Adam L. Hopkins, for appellants.
Rock, LLP, by: Jeff Fletcher, for appellee.
M. GLOVER, Judge.
The Academy, Inc. d/b/a/ Haas Hall Academy ("Haas
Hall"), appeals from the circuit court's ruling that
it renewed two commercial leases and owed its landlord,
appellee, Paradigm Building, LLC ("Paradigm"), $41,
540 in rent, plus $50, 000 in attorney's fees. Paradigm
cross-appeals the court's calculation of the rent and the
denial of late fees. We affirm on direct appeal and on
Hall is a public charter school in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
During the times relevant to this case, the school was
located in the Paradigm Building pursuant to two multi-year
leases executed in January 2009 and September 2010. The
leases covered a total of 13, 400 square feet and ran
concurrently, containing essentially the same terms.
Importantly for our purposes, they shared an expiration date
of June 30, 2014, and contained a one-time renewal option for
three additional years.
The renewal clause in the January 2009 lease provided, in
pertinent part, as follows:
2.2 Renewals. Tenant shall have the option to renew
this Lease Agreement for one renewal term(s) of thirty-six
(36) months. The renewal term shall be subject to all of the
same terms and conditions as are set forth herein, except as
otherwise provided in Section 3.2. Each option shall be
exercised by written notice to Landlord, received no later
than sixty (60) days prior to the expiration of the term then
September 2010 lease contained a similar renewal provision.
Both leases also required that all notices be in writing and
sent by certified or registered mail. Hereafter, we will
refer to the leases as a single lease, unless the context
the lease term, Haas Hall experiencing growth and frequently
expressed an interest in acquiring more space for its
students. In 2012, for example, the school began utilizing an
adjacent, 800-square-foot space known as the "dance
room" pursuant to an oral agreement with Paradigm.
Additionally, Martin Schoppmeyer, on behalf of Haas Hall, and
Tracy Hoskins, on behalf of Paradigm, occasionally discussed
the possibility of Haas Hall's either leasing more space
or purchasing the Paradigm Building.
mid-2013-approximately one year before the lease
expired-Schoppmeyer asked Hoskins if they could discuss
"extending" the lease. Thereafter, Hoskins provided
Schoppmeyer with a form letter, which stated that Haas Hall
"would like to exercise our Renewal Option on both
Leases per paragraph 2.2 Renewals of the
Agreements." This letter was never used, and no further
steps were taken toward renewal at that time.
ensuing months, Hoskins continued to propose solutions to
Haas Hall's need for additional space, including the
possibility of Haas Hall's entering into a longer-term
lease, such as five or ten years, and occupying more square
footage. No agreements were reached as to these matters.
April 2014, Schoppmeyer and Hoskins began discussions in
earnest about the upcoming end of the lease term. In doing
so, they exchanged a series of emails and other written
communications that are pertinent to this appeal. On April
14, 2014, Schoppmeyer sent an email to Hoskins that stated,
I want to renew our lease. Do you want me to send you a
letter stating as much? Can you send me a renewal lease so
that I can sign it?
responded, "As for renewing the lease, are you going to
want to expand into the remaining space next door?"
Schoppmeyer replied that he was not sure about additional
space and needed to think about it.
days later, on April 16, 2014, Schoppmeyer sent another email
to Hoskins. This email contained the subject line
"Renewal" and asked Hoskins,
Do you want me to send you a formal letter for the renewal as
stated in the lease or will this suffice? Can you send me a
contract? I need to build my budget for 2014.2015.
responded, "Do you want me to do a new lease? Or do you
want to extend the lease you have?" Schoppmeyer did not
respond by email but instead sent a certified letter to
Hoskins on April 22, 2014, in which he stated,
Please allow this communication to be my official request to
extend Haas Hall Academy's lease at [address]. We have
communicated via email and I await ...