The Real Deal New York

Gulliver’s Gate lawsuit against Kushner is thrown out

Miniature toy exhibition claimed it overpaid rent at 216 West 44th Street
January 31, 2019 10:15AM

Charlie Kushner and Gulliver’s Gate New York exhibit (Credit: William Warby via Flickr)

The small world of Gulliver’s Gate is in big trouble.

A judge this week tossed out the retailer’s claim against its landlord Kushner Companies that it overpaid $1.8 million in rent at its 49,000-square-foot space at 216 West 44th Street, according to Commercial Observer.

The exhibit, which features lilliputian versions of world monuments, opened in 2017. But by January 2018, the museum was two months behind on its rent at the 49,000-square-foot space.

The miniature world takes up a fifth of the 250,000-square-foot retail space, but Gulliver’s Gate claimed the usable space was only 43,247 square feet, and that its $5.8 million annual rent was based on 49,000 square feet.

“Both the Supreme Court and the Appellate Division have dismissed the tenant’s frivolous motions to avoid eviction due to nonpayment of rent,” said Karen Zabarsky, a Kushner Companies spokesperson. She did not respond to further questions, but debt filings show that Kushner Companies’ lenders approved the termination of Gulliver’s Gate’s lease in late 2018, according to Bloomberg.

It’s one of several notable disputes at Kushner Companies’ Times Square property, which it paid $296 million for in 2015 when it was mostly vacant. Aside from the wranglings with Gulliver’s Gate, Guy Fieri’s restaurant closed down last year (a replacement tenant was found); celebrity chef Todd English’s food hall didn’t open; and the lease of National Geographic Encounter, the biggest tenant, was terminated after months of disputes.

The vacancies and disputes could make it tougher for Kushner Companies to make payments on the $285 million Deutsche Bank loan it received in 2016.  [CO] — David Jeans