Cushman sues Lord & Taylor owner for unpaid rent

Brokerage says Jack Saadia signed personal guarantee, owes $2.5M

Cushman Sues Lord & Taylor Owner
Cushman & Wakefield CEO Michelle MacKay and 275 Madison Avenue (Getty, Cushman & Wakefield, Epicgenius, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Cushman & Wakefield is suing the co-founder of the company that owns Lord & Taylor over unpaid rent at a Midtown office building.

Cushman filed the case against Jack Saadia, co-founder of the Saadia Group, and is demanding $2.5 million in back rent for three floors that he subleased at 275 Madison Avenue.

Saadia inked the sublease in 2021 under the name Retailwinds Acquisitions and has made only one rent payment since May 2022, according to an affidavit from Cushman broker Emily Smith filed in state Supreme Court. Saadia signed a personal guarantee on the lease that is “absolute and unconditional,” according to the affidavit.

Cushman is asking for $2.5 million plus attorney fees and other expenses.

The lease was signed shortly after the Saadia Group acquired Lord & Taylor and New York & Company in a bankruptcy auction. Saadia planned to operate the brands as an e-commerce business out of the new headquarters, Crain’s reported at the time.

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The office was to be used as a showroom and for administrative staff. It was not a direct lease with the building owner, RPW Group; rather, Cushman & Wakefield sublet the 41,000-square-foot space to Saadia.

As part of the deal, Saadia inherited Cushman’s furniture and equipment. It received a 30 percent discount on the building’s direct pricing.

Saadia could not be reached for comment. A lawyer for Cushman declined to comment.

Lord & Taylor dates back to 1826, when English immigrants Samuel Lord and George Washington Taylor opened a dry goods store on the Lower East Side. The company became a prestigious department store chain but fell on hard times and in 2019 was acquired by clothing rental startup Le Tote for $71 million.

The retail play flopped: A year later, Covid hit the U.S. and the companies closed their 28 stores in March. That August, both filed for bankruptcy.In October 2020, Saadia group bought Lord & Taylor for $12 million and announced the e-commerce launch the following April, saying without stores it could respond more quickly to customers’ changing desires. But selling apparel online comes with its own challenges.

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