27-Jul-20 The owner and operator of Water Tower Place and other properties across the nation is being sued because it will not give its retail tenants a break on rent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brookfield Properties Retail, Inc., is being sued in Cook County Circuit Court by Athleta, Banana Republic, Janie & Jack, Old Navy, and The Gap, renters of retail space at 84 of the more than 600 properties that Brookfield manages.
According to the lawsuit filed on July 16, the retailers have had to close stores and lay off employees, but Brookfield is unwilling to consider their requests for leniency on rent.
In a world of unforeseeable events, the circumstances the subject stores have faced are at the extreme end of unforeseeability, they say in their complaint.
Because the pandemic has made it impossible for them to operate, the retailers say they have no obligation to pay rent. They are asking that rent they have paid be given back to them and that their leases be rewritten or canceled. They want the court to determine their rights and obligations under the new circumstances.
Jonathan Bilyk contributed to this story.