US

Landlord sues Old Navy for $231K in unpaid rent

The owner of West Hartford’s Corbin’s Corner retail center has filed a lawsuit seeking more than $231,000 from its Old Navy tenant for unpaid rent.

Court documents show Florida real estate investment firm Regency Centers on July 7 filed a lawsuit in state Superior Court in Hartford seeking to recoup $231,838 for rent and other charges due under its lease agreement with global apparel company Old Navy, which is a division of the San Francisco-based clothing retailer Gap Inc.

The lawsuit claims Old Navy owes base rent payments of about $53,890 for the months of April, May and June, in addition to tens of thousands of dollars for real estate tax, insurance and other expenses.

On June 8, Regency Centers, which manages 419 retail facilities, or 56 million square feet across the country, sent a notice of default letter to Old Navy for failure to pay rent.

In spite of notices of default, attorney Matthew Schenker of law firm Fox Rothschild in New York City, who represents the landlord, said that Old Navy “failed and refused, and continues to fail and refuse to make any of the requested payments and has failed to abide by the terms of the lease for the premises.”

Gap Inc. is facing similar litigation in Fairfield and around the country as it reportedly suspended rent payment at its more than 2,700 retail stores, which include Old Navy and Banana Republic. The company has cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason it’s been unable to make rent payments at its North American stores.

The lawsuits range from brick-and-mortar landlords to mall owners.

In a statement Monday afternoon, a Gap spokesperson said the company is committed to working with landlords on “mutually agreeable solutions and fair rent terms… .”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on the retail industry, and like many retailers, Gap Inc. was forced to close its North American stores to our customers for months due to the pandemic, and upon the reopening of our stores, we are being subject to restrictions that no one foresaw before the closures, much less when the leases were entered,” the spokesperson said. “While we had hoped the infection rates would plateau and drop quickly all over the country, the reality is, infections are spiking and regulations are evolving.”

In West Hartford, Gap signed its lease for the 17,000-square-foot Corbin’s Corner space in 1994. The lease is set to expire on Jan. 31, 2023, court documents show.

Old Navy is Corbin’s Corner’s fourth largest tenant, according to Regency Centers’ leasing map. Other major tenants include Best Buy, Edge Fitness, Total Wine & More, Trader Joe’s, Bank of America and Pet Valu.

This story has been updated to include comment from Gap Inc.

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