On Wednesday, a court ruled that the Howard Hughes Corporation had the right to evict the Seaport's stalwart seafood shack, Simply Seafood, from the Pier 17 mall. John and Joseph Demane, the father and son owners of Simply Seafood have been the last holdouts at the otherwise abandoned mall since the Howard Hughes Corporation shuttered it in September with plans to construct a new development on the site. The Demanes, who maintain that their lease runs until 2020, have been engaged in a court battle since then, suing the corporation for both past and future losses incurred by its development plan.
Now the court has ruled that "Simply Seafood's deliberate and intentional misreporting of gross sales and its failure to pay any utility charges for about a decade" allows for forfeiture of the long-term lease. A spokesperson for the Howard Hughes Corporation says that yesterday was Simply Seafood's last day in the mall, but it sounds like the Demanes are staying put until a marshal forces them to leave. Yesterday, Joseph Demane told the Tribeca Tribune: "It's still status quo—the doors are still open...I came in and haven't heard or seen anybody from management." He expects that a marshal will come early next week, possibly on Monday.
Read on below for the full statement on the ruling from the Howard Hughes Corporation:
From a rep for the Howard Hughes corporation:
The Court's Decision to eject Simply Seafood from Pier 17 and subsequent Order speaks for itself. Simply Seafood's lease was originally terminated in 2005 due to non-payment of rent and other monies owed according to the lease terms. Since that time, it had been an illegal, hold-over tenant. While The Howard Hughes Corporation inherited this situation from the previous landlords, we are pleased that it has been resolved after a long and arduous process.
The Pier 17 redevelopment project is moving ahead as planned, and we look forward to welcoming the neighborhood, New Yorkers and visitors back to a vibrant, community anchor that will benefit Lower Manhattan for years to come.
· All Coverage of Simply Seafood [~ENY~]
[Photo: John and Joseph Demane by Marguerite Preston]