Bucksbaum sues movie chain Cinemex for $18M

Developer of mixed-use complex in Wrigleyville alleges tenant owes back rent and failed to complete work on its space

Bucksbaum Properties CEO John Bucksbaum (Getty, CMX Cinemas)
Bucksbaum Properties CEO John Bucksbaum (Getty, CMX Cinemas)

The developer of a major mixed-use complex next to Wrigley Field is suing its movie theater tenant for $18 million, alleging it failed to complete work on its space and has skipped rent payments.

Bucksbaum Properties, a co-developer of the $150 million apartment and retail complex in Wrigleyville, filed the federal lawsuit, claiming Mexican cinema chain Cinemex is in breach of contract, according to Crain’s.

Cinemex agreed to lease the 30,000-square-foot space in the property. Buildout on the dine-in theater space halted as the coronavirus took hold and in April, a venture that controls the theater canceled the lease as it sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to the report.

Bucksbaum argues that even though Cinemex Holdings USA — which controls Cinemex’s 30 U.S. locations including the one in Chicago — rejected the 10-year lease, its parent company, Grupo Cinemex, hasn’t filed for bankruptcy protection. Grupo Cinemex remains on the hook for the monthly rent because it guaranteed the Chicago lease, according to the lawsuit.

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An attorney for Bucksbaum called the suit a last resort move.

Grupo Cinemex said it did not sign the lease and is not bound by its terms, Crain’s reported, citing an Oct. 21 letter the company sent to Bucksbaum.

Disputes between retail landlords and tenants have proliferated in the pandemic-driven downturn. Movie theaters
are one of the hardest hit sectors, as many of them were unable to open for months under local Covid restrictions. [Crain’s] — Akiko Matsuda

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