The Real Deal New York

Stellar, Rockpoint sued over eviction battle at Soho building

Publisher Springer Science + Business Media has been a tenant at 223 Spring St. since 1980

March 06, 2015 05:03PM
By Kyna Doles and Claire Moses

From left: Rendering of One Soho Square and Stellar Development's Larry Gluck

From left: Rendering of One Soho Square and Larry Gluck

More legal woes are in the cards for Larry Gluck at his latest Soho project. Springer Science + Business Media — a publishing house that rents 100,000 square feet at 233 Spring Street in the heart of Soho, is suing Gluck’s Stellar Management and partner Rockpoint Group, in a bid to prevent eviction from the space it has occupied since 1980.

Stellar and Rockpoint— the developers behind the 768,000-square-foot office and retail project named One Soho Square — sent the publishing house a termination notice on Feb. 19, ordering the company to vacate its space by March 10, according to court documents.

A hearing is scheduled for April 14, after which a decision will be made about Springer’s fate. Until then, the eviction notice is on hold.

While Stellar and Rockpoint — which together form Soho AOA — claim that Springer violated the lease agreement by not reporting a change in ownership at the publishing house in 2013, Springer’s lawsuit implies that the landlord’s real intent is to find a higher-paying tenant.

In the suit, Springer alleges that the company was subject to an 18-month pattern of harassment. The landlord shut off heat, flooded stairwells and prohibited construction during business hours, Springer alleges.

“What has changed in the past 18 months is the continued escalation of rents in Soho, and this landlord’s determination to try to get rid of a long-term tenant with a below-market lease,” the lawsuit states.

Springer renewed its lease — which is now set to expire in 2025 — in 2009.

Springer’s lawyers couldn’t immediately be reached on Friday afternoon. The landlords declined to comment on this article through their lawyer.

Soho AOA twice offered Springer a buyout, equivalent to $56 per square foot, according to court documents. The publisher declined both times, saying the amount was “commercially unreasonable.” By comparison, Springer alleges Stellar listed spaces in the building at $75-$85 per square foot.

Springer has invested a total of $5 million in renovations on their office since 2004, according to court papers, and claims eviction could cause the German company to leave New York and the U.S. for good.

Gluck bought the two Soho buildings at 233 Spring Street and 161 Sixth Avenue for $200 million, with the intent to combine them into the newly-branded One Soho Square.

In July, 2013, Stellar was sued by another tenant in the building — post-production and film editing company Post Factory — to try to stop the project, citing “major unwarranted disruption to the business.”

 

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