Mozella McLaughlin and her family are re-thinking plans for their Mok'e Jazz Cultural Center, William McLaughlin said this morning, and the Know Book Store is definitely out of the picture.
"We absolutely cannot work with Mr. [Bruce] Bridges," the bookstore's owner, McLaughlin said. "He is out of this project."
The city's role may be up in the air as well, he said, given other "modifications" in the Mok'e Plan that McLaughlin did not specify.
Bull's Eye has not been able to reach City Manager Tom Bonfield or Economic and Workforce Development Director Kevin Dick for comment, but McLaughlin indicated the city may back off a proposed $175,000 grant for the project.
Still, he said, the family is going ahead "regardless of who is involved with it locally."
The city grant is on the agenda for Monday's City Council meeting. It was continued from the Sept. 21 meeting after Mayor Bill Bell raised a question about a cash-flow analysis and other council members wanted to allow more time for the McLaughlins and Bridges to work out an agreement for the Know Book Store's future.
The McLaughlins want to renovate and enlarge the building they own at 2520 Fayetteville St. for the Mok'e Center, which they envision as an art and music venue oriented to the primarily black neighborhood around it and nearby N.C. Central University.
Their plans had included the Know Book Store and Restaurant, which now rents the building, but bookstore owner Bridges has said the offered terms are not acceptable and could drive him out of business. His efforts to find another location have been unsuccessful, he told the City Council in September.
After four hours of mediation Wednesday, the McLaughlins and Bridges still could come to no agreement, McLaughlin said.