Leases  ·  Retail

Landlord Sues Century 21 for $3M in Back Rent at Financial District Flagship


Century 21’s landlord sued the department store chain for more than $3 million in back rent due at its flagship store in the Financial District, months after Century 21 declared bankruptcy.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in New York County Supreme Court in Manhattan, comes from Mayore Estates, the Moshe Drizin-led partnership that owns 22 Cortlandt Street, Crain’s New York Business first reported. The department store chain occupies the bottom six floors of 22 Cortlandt, which connects to several floors of the store’s outpost at 25 Church Street.

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The landlord claims the company hasn’t completely vacated the space and still owes rent on the fourth, fifth, sixth and ninth floors that the department store occupies through June, according to court records. Century 21 had three lease agreements at the building for the first three floors, the next three floors, and for office space on the ninth floor, Crain’s reported.

Century 21 filed for bankruptcy last year and planned to close all 13 of its stores in New York, New Jersey, Florida and Pennsylvania, Commercial Observer reported. At the time, the company said it was forced into Chapter 11 after its insurance companies refused to cover $175 million in losses sustained during coronavirus pandemic-related shutdowns. 

But, in February, Century 21 announced a comeback: the chain planned to return to New York and open a store in Busan, South Korea — one it had previously planned before the pandemic. That return to the Big Apple, however, would not include the company’s longtime Financial District outpost at 25 Church. The owners of Century 21, the Gindi family, and landlord ASG Equities began to look for new tenants to take over the 60,000-square-foot space in February. 

At 22 Cortlandt, landlord Mayore Estates sued Century 21 back in November to block the chain from renewing its lease at the property. Amid liquidation sales and closures at other New York City locations, Century 21 asked to keep the first three floors of the space in the building, but the landlord blocked the renewal by requiring Century 21 to take all six floors and simultaneously refusing to lease the entire space, because Century 21 split its retail business from its real estate holdings, Crain’s New York reported.

Now, Mayore Estates is suing for $2.7 million in rent owed from November 2020 to April 2021 for Century 21’s fourth, fifth and sixth floors at the property, and for $466,000 at the ninth floor for rent from October of last year through May, according to the complaint. Mayore Estates also claims that Century 21 abandoned equipment, like computers, telephones and office furniture, on the ninth floor.

A spokesperson for Century 21 and Mayore Estates’ lawyer did not immediately respond to requests for comment.