Bayside Marketplace sues to evict Bubba Gump, Hard Rock Cafe and three other tenants

Tenants also include Shoe Palace, Express and U.S. Polo Assn.

Hard Rock Cafe at Bayside Marketplace (Hard Rock)
Hard Rock Cafe at Bayside Marketplace (Hard Rock)

Bayside Marketplace’s owner wants to evict five tenants, including Hard Rock Cafe and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., alleging unpaid rent amid the pandemic.

The downtown Miami outdoor mall’s New York-based landlord sued the two restaurants and three retailers recently in Miami-Dade Circuit Court to initiate the eviction process, alleging the tenants owe a total of $802,832 in rent. Attempts to collect past due rent were unsuccessful, according to the suits.

Bayside Marketplace, owned by Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., has been one of the hardest hit shopping centers in South Florida since the coronavirus pandemic began. Heavily reliant on tourists, foot traffic at the mall has been slow since businesses were allowed to reopen in May, according to the Miami Herald.

Ashkenazy’s patience seems to have worn out with Hard Rock Cafe, Bubba Gump, U.S. Polo Assn., Express and Shoe Palace, according to the lawsuits. Attorneys and spokespersons for four tenants did not respond to requests for comment.

An Ashkenazy spokesperson said Bayside Marketplace has worked closely with tenants “through these unprecedented times to identify solutions based on individual business needs.”

“This includes helping more than 50 Bayside Marketplace tenants access additional public or private financing,” the spokesperson said. “The majority of tenants have worked with us to meet obligations that will sustain a vibrant business community at Bayside Marketplace. We will continue to do everything we can to accommodate tenants.”

The five tenants have not paid rent for the three months ending in June, the lawsuits state.

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Bubba Gump, a chain seafood restaurant owned by hospitality company Landry’s, was among the first Bayside renters to receive a default notice in April. Ashkenazy affiliate Bayside Marketplace LLC alleges Bubba Gump owes roughly $107,280. The restaurant occupies a standalone space near the shopping center’s entrance and is required to pay $35,760 a month, according to its lease attached to the Bubba Gump lawsuit.

Jeff Cantwell, Landry’s executive vice president of development, said Bubba Gump has been in constant communication with Bayside Marketplace about the restaurant’s “uncontrollable loss of sales” and “the state and local government mandated closing” of the dining room. Cantwell noted that Bubba Gump has worked out amicable deals with other landlords and will defend itself against the eviction lawsuit.

“Here, the Bayside landlord mistakenly believes that they are above the pandemic and do not have to work with their tenants,” Cantwell said. “We believe the landlord’s position is unreasonable and have been unable to arrive at a financial compromise.”

Hard Rock, which is also located in a standalone space near Bayside’s private marina, has been at the mall the longest among the five tenants. It’s lease dates back to 1992, requiring the rock & roll themed-restaurant to pay $500,000 in base rent annually plus a percentage of its sales. The lawsuit against Hard Rock alleges the eatery owes $337,912.

The break down for the other three tenants is:

  • Shoe Palace, a San Jose, California-based sneaker retailer with a lease since 2017, allegedly owes $131,801.
  • Express, a Columbus, Ohio-based clothing retailer with a lease since 2013, allegedly owes $105,245.
  • U.S. Polo Assn., a Colfax, Louisiana-based clothing retailer with a lease since 2014, allegedly owes $120,594.

Ashkenazy owns the open-air shopping center, but leases the ground underneath it from the city of Miami for $1.5 million a year in rent. Ashkenazy had commenced a $27 million facelift at Bayside before the pandemic.

The mall recently added a ferris wheel attraction that has yet to open. Bayside is also the planned future site of Berkowitz Development Group’s Skyrise Miami observation tower.