The NBA has been hit with a million-dollar lawsuit for allegedly skipping rent payments at its store on New York City’s Fifth Avenue.
In a filing Tuesday with the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, 535-545 Fee LLC claimed that tenant NBA Media Ventures LLC had missed two monthly rent payments of $625,000, plus additional charges, and now owes about $1.25 million.
According to court papers, the lease of the store — located at 545 Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan — has been held by the NBA since November 2014. (The property spans the ground floor, lower level and second floor.)
In addition to the rent payments for April and May, the lawsuit also called for the association to pay metered water charges of just under $350, metered steam charges of roughly $3,800 and late interest charges of more than $3,200.
535-545 Fee LLC is seeking monetary damages for breach of contract as well as attorneys’ fees.
The NBA has joined the growing roster of retailers — counting Nordstrom, H&M and Burlington Stores — that have skipped out on their lease obligations as the coronavirus pandemic throws their balance sheets into disarray. The move has left commercial landlords with little options — leaving some to take legal action against their shuttered tenants in order to meet their own mortgage terms.
Early this month, 48th Americas LLC filed a complaint against Gap Inc., alleging that the specialty retailer violated its lease agreement by failing to make fixed and other rent payments totaling more than $530,000. It claimed that Gap missed two monthly rent payments of roughly $264,000 (on top of water and snow removal charges). The landlord is seeking monetary relief for those alleged skipped payments as well as at least $20,000 to cover attorneys’ fees.
Also this month, Palm Springs Mile Associates Ltd. sued Ross Stores Inc. in Florida district court. The landlord said that the off-price chain owed $5.5 million in unpaid rent on three of its stores in the state. According to the complaint, Ross Stores opted against paying rent that was due May 1 and “has further advised that its non-payment of rent will continue.” However, under the terms of its leasing agreements, Palm Springs Mile Associates said that the retailer is still “obligated to pay rent and that obligation is not excused.”