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Manhattan bike rental business sues landlord, alleging extortion and predatory leasing

Published March 4, 2021

NEW YORK (BRAIN) — Tour Central Park, which operates a bike rental operation in the city, is suing the landlord at its former Lower Manhattan location, charging that it engaged in "extortionate and predatory leasing practices," among other things.

Tour Central Park operates out of several locations in the city and is part of the BikeRent.NYC group, which is the official bike rental company of the city's parks.

According to the suit filed this week in the NY Supreme Court in Manhattan, in 2015 the rental company entered a five-year lease for a first-floor location at 145 Nassau Street, off Park Row in Lower Manhattan, across from City Hall Park.

The suit says that in 2018 the landlord, Thor 38 Park Row LLC, threatened to lease its current space to a bike rental competitor unless it agreed to a 100% increase in its monthly rent, from $5,500 a month to $11,000 per month. Tour Central Park said it agreed to the rent increase, but that Thor then leased another space in the same building to the competitor, Unlimited Biking.

When the lease expired in January 2020, Tour Central Park said it told the landlord it would vacate the spot but that the landlord offered a month-to-month lease at $8,000 per month to entice them to stay. Tour Central Park did that for two months and then left the building in March. According to the suit the landlord then offered to hold the space for three months rent-free and would reduce the rent if the company came back. The company did not come back but said it started receiving rent bills in September 2020. In January 2021 the rental company requested its $30,000 security deposit back, but the landlord said it was keeping the deposit to apply to the rent during the period when the space was being held.

Tour Central Park is accusing Thor 38 Park Row of fraud, breach of contract, and breach of covenant of good faith. It's asking for its $30,000 deposit back plus legal fees and interest.

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