A longtime kosher deli that says it’s the lone holdout against a big Billionaire’s Row demolition project wants a judge to save it from eviction.
Cafe Classico, which has been around for 19 years and has a lease through 2040, sits in a five-story building next to a gaping hole in West 57th Street where three similar structures — including the limestone mansion which once housed the famed Rizzoli Bookstore — have already been torn down.
The restaurant claims landlord 35 West Realty Co. has threatened to give it the boot over insufficient insurance coverage, accusing the deli of being in violation of its lease for having a $1 million liability policy instead of a $2 million policy.
But the landlord is really just looking for a reason to get the eatery out so it and another developer can continue with the “major development project” set for the space, Cafe Classico claims in a Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit.
Calling its location “unique and irreplaceable” in court papers, the restaurant is asking a Manhattan Supreme Court justice to stop the landlord’s eviction bid by declaring that Cafe Classico hasn’t violated its lease.
The deli, which claims it has sunk $500,000 into the building over the years, said it has a “large base of regular customers.”
The LeFrak Organization and Vornado Realty have slated a high-rise tower for the empty space next to the Cafe Classico space inside a 1891 French-style townhouse.
But a lawyer for the landlord insisted the insurance policy problem had nothing to do with the development next door.
“We’re not part of the demolition next door,” attorney Warren Estis told The Post. “That’s separate and distinct from us.”
Source: Read Full Article