Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post - Athens, OH
The independent newspaper covering campus and community since 1911.
The Post
The courtyard of Palmer Place Apartments, April 12, 2024, in Athens.

Cornwell Properties limits attendance to Palmer Place Fest

Cornwell Properties canceled BrickLife Entertainment’s involvement with Palmer Place Fest, which was meant to be held next Friday. 

Cornwell Properties, which owns the Palmer Place apartment complex at 25 Kurtz St., said it is changing the event’s typical festivities because it could be a liability issue for the company, its insurance could be taken away if someone were to get hurt and overcrowding issues could cause ongoing damage to the building. 

The fest usually fills the courtyard and most of the apartment complex’s balconies with DJs in the middle brought in by BrickLife.

Palmer Place News imbed photo .jpg

Masses of students gather in the courtyard of Palmer Place apartments to celebrate one of the final fests of the season in Athens, Ohio Friday, April 22, 2022.

Cornwell sent an email to its residents explaining Palmer Place’s new guidelines for the day of the fest, April 19. According to the email, each tenant would be allowed up to three guests and everyone would receive wristbands. There would be specific entry points for all residents and guests and security will monitor these areas.

Additionally, DJs are not allowed to set up in the courtyard; however, tenants are allowed to play music if they wish. 

Cornwell Properties’ website says Palmer Place is home to over 250 residents, so if all wristbands were used, there could be around 1,000 partygoers. 

Vince Debeljak, a DJ and organizer of Palmer Place Fest through BrickLife, said the decision hurts BrickLife. 

“We have over $10,000 in investments and sponsorship deals,” Debeljak said. “We had a special guest, an artist booked.”

According to a Palmer Place lease obtained by The Post, Cornwell Property tenants signed a lease that states that no “keg parties, excessive drinking or large crowds” are permitted. The lease adds that Cornwell Properties is not held liable for anything going on during Fest Season. 

The lease indicates, “Tenant understands and agrees that any and all street and/or neighborhood festivals are not sanctioned by and are entirely unaffiliated with the Landlord.” 

Lindsay Hodge, an attorney working for Underhill and Hodge LLC, said although the precedent of former Palmer Place Fests could give possible grounds for negotiating a situation that mirrors former events more closely, Cornwell does not have to comply with past events because it is their property. 

Debeljak said he was disappointed to hear the news. He said during a meeting with Cornwell Properties, he and his partner from BrickLife offered solutions such as only allowing tenants wearing wristbands up on the balconies or giving Cornwell some of the funds. However, Debeljak said the company refused these ideas.

“If there’s no DJ, if there’s no crowd, it’s just going to be lame,” he said. “It’s going to be like your uncle’s cookout.”

Debeljak said BrickLife will throw a Palmer Place Fest replacement on April 19. He said the location and time will be published on BrickLife’s social media accounts. 

He said Cornwell relayed insurance concerns but said BrickLife has its own insurance of upward of $2 million in coverage. However, Hodge said having insurance is separate from BrickLife’s right to be on Cornwell’s property, which Cornwell determines.

Debeljak started a petition that says people who sign it do not support the Cornwells, which as of 6:30 p.m. Friday has 3,643 signatures. Debeljak also said in the petition these rules will “change OU forever for the worse.”

An employee at the Cornwell rental property office said that is not why the decision was made. She said Palmer Place is already a popular student rental property, and the reason to limit guests is to protect the tenants, guests and property.

Students on platforms including Snapchat and Yik Yak, posted that they are boycotting the bars David Cornwell owns. These include The J Bar, North End Kitchen and Bar and Courtside Pizza, which are all along Court Street. David Cornwell said he is not associated with the Palmer Place complex, which is run by his father, Les Cornwell, meaning these businesses are not associated. 

“I motion to boycott Cornwell Properties and Cornwell bars … until something can be arranged,” Debeljak said.

Maggie Lawrence, a senior studying biology, is a tenant at Palmer Place. She said she was looking forward to the festivities and was devastated the last fest was canceled.

Lawrence said she has heard safety concerns regarding balconies and other hazards. She said she felt instead of canceling the fest, Cornwell Properties should work on diminishing these hazards.

“People are constantly up there and if there is a safety concern, to not be telling us and to not be fixing it, I think is extremely unethical on their part,” she said. 

The rent price at Palmer Place is set at $695, which includes furniture, water, trash, sewage and internet. These prices are the same for three-, four-, five- and six-bedroom apartments according to Cornwell Properties’ website.

Molly Cohen, a junior studying communication studies, said she has a friend flying in from Denver next week and they had planned to go together. She said they will try to sneak into the party if they are unable to get wristbands, but if they cannot get in they will go to the uptown bars.

“I just think Fest as a whole is a great way to get the whole school together as a community, and it's just really disappointing that they're excluding people from it,” Cohen said.



Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2024 The Post, Athens OH