The landlord of the Four Seasons Hotel at 57 East 57th Street is suing tenant Zilli USA for $2.7 million in arrears.
Ty Warner Hotels and Resorts alleged in a complaint filed this week that the American subsidiary of the French luxury fashion company skipped rent on its lease for a portion of the property’s ground floor.
Zilli signed the lease in 2009, but the agreement has since been amended several times. Starting in 2019, the tenant was to pay $1.4 million per year, which the complaint says was to increase in subsequent years. Zilli also agreed to pay a percentage of real estate taxes for the premises.
However, in April 2020, Zilli failed to pay both rent and real estate taxes. The landlord delivered a default notice Aug. 24, 2021.
Neither Warner nor Zilli responded to requests for comment.
Ty Warner, the hospitality company’s eponymous owner, is the Chicago billionaire behind Beanie Babies, the iconic stuffed toy brand. He bought the hotel at 57th street in 1999 for $275 million.
In recent years, Warner has come close to selling the hotel twice. Despite receiving offers around $900 million within the last 12 years, he has backed out of the potential deals, the Wall Street Journal previously reported.
In addition to the 57th Street location, Warner also owns hotels in Mexico and California, including a Four Seasons hotel in Montecito.
Rent disputes have become increasingly prevalent amid the pandemic, which has shuttered stores and forced hotels to go dark. Some of the earliest cases saw judgments issued earlier this year and as they began to be resolved, potentially paved a path for other bickering landlords and tenants.
A judge ruled last spring that Philippe Chow, a luxury restaurant located in the Dream Hotel Downtown in Manhattan, owed rent to its landlord, despite being closed amid the pandemic.
“According to the lease, plaintiff must make a choice: stay and pay rent or terminate and leave,” Judge Melissa Crane wrote in her decision.