Terranova’s relationship with ice cream franchisee turns frosty: lawsuit

Firm sues for $1.16 million in alleged unpaid rent

Oct.October 07, 2016 02:15 PM

Terranova Corp. is putting a lease deal with an Argentine ice cream shop franchisee on deep freeze.

The Miami Beach-based commercial real estate firm sued a company licensed to sell Freddo, a brand of Argentine helado, a cold sweet that is a cross between American ice cream and Italian gelato. Terranova alleges Jaque Mate Inc. owes $1.16 million in outstanding rent for a space the helado company leased at 610 Lincoln Road.

Terranova founder and chairman Stephen Bittel did not respond to a request for comment. Jaque Mate principals Roberto and Emilio Gamarra declined comment. The Gamarras recently closed their Freddo Lincoln Road location, but have a second spot at 1100 Millecento, 1100 South Miami Avenue in Brickell.

The lawsuit gives an insider’s peak at the rental market on Lincoln Road. According to the complaint, Jaque Mate signed a five-year lease with Terranova on Jan. 10, 2014 for a 1,143 square foot storefront. Under the terms, monthly payments would balloon from $27,746 a month the first year to $30,553 a month in the final year. That’s $285 a square foot in 2014 to $320 a square foot in 2019.

According to Freddo’s website, the brand is available in Miami; Charleston, South Carolina; six South American countries and the United Kingdom. The helado is made in Buenos Aires from fresh, hormone-free milk, pure cane sugar, fruits, and nuts. All flavors contain no trans fats, artificial colorings or flavorings, preservatives, or added vegetable fats, according to the website.

Two years ago, shortly after the lease with Terranova was signed, Freddo executives in Argentina hailed the Lincoln Road space as the perfect location for a flagship store in Florida.

In November 2015, a Cushman & Wakefield Report ranked Lincoln Road as the 10th most expensive retail street in the U.S., where rents are averaging $325 a square foot. Rents have skyrocketed as national and international companies like H&M, Anthropologie, Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters have moved into the pedestrian promenade.

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