EDC Sues Essex Restaurant Over Unpaid Rent from 2019

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The New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) sued eatery Essex for nearly $60,000 in unpaid rent the EDC claims Essex owes on a location it hasn’t occupied in three years, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.

The EDC claims the American eatery failed to pay rent on its restaurant at the old Essex Market building between March and August 2019, before Essex relocated to its current outpost at 124 Rivington Street on the Lower East Side. The EDC asked a New York County Supreme Court judge to award it $59,720 in unpaid base rent, interest and $5,000 in attorneys fees. 

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Pandemic-related delays, which have caused a backlog in the city’s court system, could be one reason why the EDC waited three years to sue Essex, which brought its bottomless brunches to a larger space in 2019, the Bowery Boogie reported at the time. The eatery left its space at 116 Delancey Street after the city relocated Essex Market across the street into the 1.9 million-square-foot mixed-use development Essex Crossing.

David Perlman, Essex’s owner, told Commercial Observer he hadn’t heard about the lawsuit. The EDC declined to comment on the case.

A partnership between the city and Essex Crossing’s developers — Taconic Partners, L+M Development, BFC Partners, Prusik Group and Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s Urban Investment Group — had planned to replace the property with a mixed-use residential building, with half of its units reserved for lower-income residents. But the original structure remains on top of the city-owned land, and no plans have been filed to demolish it with the New York City Department of Buildings

Construction on Essex Crossing is still underway, and in June the developers scored a $466 million refinancing for the project’s second phase: building the office, rental apartment and condo components. 

Update: This story has been updated to reflect that New York City owns the land at 116 Delancey Street, not the building.

Celia Young can be reached at cyoung@commercialobserver.com.