While news broke on Friday that the Empire Diner space, a Chelsea icon of sorts, is on the market, reps for the restaurant owners report they're hoping it won't be going anywhere. As is all too common these days, the landlord has raised the rents on the owners—who, by the way, have worked at the diner for the last 30 years, owned it for the last 10—and they're trying to hammer out a deal before the lease is up in two months.
The back and forth between the owners of the restaurant and the landlord involves not just the rent but also the ownership of the name 'Empire Diner' (see also, the Tavern on the Green case). Given the site is landmarked and a well known space in the nabe, one can see why the landlord would want to hold on to it.
A year ago, when the arguments first began, the landlord brought in a real estate broker to list the space. Worst case scenario, if an agreement can't be worked out, the Empire Diner owners are set on finding a new location, though that would be a lose-lose for both parties. In related West Chelsea news, other brokers have written in to report that the doomed restaurant space on the southeast corner of 23rd and 10th is also up for lease.
· Empire Diner, a Chelsea Icon, For Lease [~ENY~]