Bloomingdale’s is getting into some heat with its landlord.
The famed retailer began skipping rent payments in April and now owes nearly $2.5 million on its outlet at 2085 Broadway, the landlord alleges in a lawsuit. The lease for the store states Bloomingdale’s will pay the Stahl Organization $437,500 of fixed rent plus a percentage sales.
Bloomingdale’s declined to issue a statement, citing company policy not to comment on subjects related to litigation. Lawyers for the landlord and Macy’s have not responded yet to requests for comment.
The lawsuit is one of many between retail tenants and landlords during the pandemic. While retailers argue that the situation makes their premises unusable, thus invalidating their lease, landlords claim that the agreements generally do not allow for that.
The case between Bloomingdale’s and its landlord will rest in part on how the courts interpret the so-called “act of God” clause known as force majeure. The lease reads:
“If Tenant shall be unable to fulfill any of its obligations under this lease due to force majeure events … Tenant shall not be liable to landlord under this lease as a result thereof provided, however, Tenant shall under no circumstances fail or refuse to pay any installments of fixed annual rent or any additional rent.”
Some early decisions provide hope for landlords. Earlier this month, a judge ruled that Backal Hospitality Group still owes Moinian Group rent, despite returning the keys to 627 West 42nd Street amid pandemic-related complications.
Contact Sasha Jones at [email protected]