In Bishop, the mystery at the Cottonwood Plaza continues. A number of tenants have moved out after an offer of what they called unworkable leases. Other tenants reportedly signed leases but received them back. The master lessee of the plaza, Chuck Caldwell declined to comment on rumors of demolition of the center.
Caldwell claims that he is not in possession of the plaza. He says sub-lessee Richard Maudsley is the owner of the plaza and the sub-lessee. Caldwell referred us to Maudsley's attorney, Tom Hardy.
When asked about reports that someone intends to demolish the plaza, Caldwell said he could not comment. He repeatedly stated, "We are exploring all options." When asked to name specific options, Caldwell declined.
Some tenants said they felt forced out. Others still in the plaza say their status remains uncertain. Some of the tenants have occupied the plaza for many years. Lyons LTD Jewelers has now moved to Academy St. after an 11 year stint at Cottonwood Plaza. Devon's Flower Patch moved out. So did Baskin-Robbins and Inyo County offices.
The plaza marks a major shopping area and visually active business center for downtown Bishop.
Some tenants said that the leases offered to them cost too much money and included too many restrictions – like penalties they would have to pay if for any reason they had to close for a day or so. Some described the documents as "big city leases that don't work in Bishop."