Valentino Sued for $207 Million by Manhattan Landlord Over Pandemic Closure

Valentino was sued last week for $207.1 million by the landlord of its former American flagship boutique on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, which said the Italian fashion company broke its lease and left the store in extreme disrepair.

ValentinoPhoto Credit: Shutterstock

The complaint follows a judge’s January dismissal of Valentino’s own lawsuit seeking to void its 16-year lease because the Coronavirus pandemic has made operating the store “impossible”. The luxury clothing giant reported a 27 percent drop in sales last year, and dozens of brands have filed for bankruptcy.

In dismissing Valentino’s lawsuit, Justice Andrew Borrok of the Manhattan court stated the terms of the lease gave the landlord broad protections from nonpayment of rent.

“The fact that the COVID 19 pandemic was not specifically enumerated by the parties does not change the result,” he wrote.

Despite their suit being dismissed, Valentino still vacated the Fifth Avenue storefront on Dec. 30 and left it in disarray, according to court documents.

The landlord, 693 Fifth Owner LLC, claims Valentino owes $6.6 million in back rent since September as well as all rent due through the lease’s July 2029 expiration, despite abandoning the store. They state they’re owed a total of $184 million for rent-related claims, but also that Valentino should pay $12.9 million to repair store damage, including the Venetian Terrazzo marble panels now defaced with paint and holes.

Last month, the Real Estate Board of New York said rents sought for Manhattan retail space fell throughout the borough, including an 8 percent drop in the stretch including Valentino’s store. In a surprising move from the brand, Valentino signed a lease last week to open an 8,000-square-foot storefront in SoHo.

“The building owner tried to work with Valentino during the pandemic with the understanding that these are difficult times,” the landlord’s lawyer, Robert Cyruli, said in a statement. “The expensive, imported store installation was effectively destroyed. My client expected more from a well-known international luxury brand. We look forward to presenting our case for damages in court.”

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