Longtime Union Square seafood restaurant Blue Water Grill announced earlier this year that it would close due to a huge rent hike — but now several staffers say it could still stay in its home of more than 20 years.
"We are being told that there have been ongoing negotiations with the landlord here for the last couple of months,'' reports one staffer. Several staff confirmed the news, noting that Blue Water Grill’s parent company Landry’s told employees that the landlord is now open to renegotiating the lease.
In July, the restaurant faced a new rent of more than $2 million per year, and Landry’s said Blue Water Grill would close in the next year.
The landlord did not immediately respond to several messages. Landry’s COO Howard Cole says that the restaurant’s future is still uncertain: "The search for Blue Water Grill’s new home is in progress, and we are in talks with several landlords about their spaces.''
Blue Water Grill joins Republic as part of a trend across the city — and in Union Square in particular — where restaurants opened with affordable leases and contributed to the neighborhood’s increasing real estate value, only to be met with landlords raising rents to levels that are too high to keep the business afloat.
In the case of Republic, it will close three-and-a-half years before the lease runs out, says owner Jonathan Morr, so he can “split the difference between what [the landlord] gets from us and what he’ll get from the next tenant, and call it a day,” Morr told Bloomberg. Union Square Cafe faced a rent hike in its original location in 2014 and has since moved to Flatiron.