Rivkin Team Secures Appellate Victory for Retailer Century 21

June 1, 2023 | Real Estate, Zoning & Land Use | Appeals

Rivkin Radler, led by David Grill, Evan Krinick and Evan Schieber, secured a significant appellate win on behalf of famed retail fashion chain Century 21, Inc.

Emerging from the pandemic, Century 21 publicly announced its comeback and plan to relaunch its famous flagship store in lower Manhattan. However, the building’s owner had a different agenda and sued Century 21, claiming that Century 21 had no further right to remain in the building citing the fact that the retail lease expired. The landlord’s challenge focused on the interpretation and interplay of a series of agreements that governed Century 21’s occupancy rights at the building. Among the agreements was a document known as the “springing lease,” which, Century 21 contended, governed the retailer’s occupancy and “sprang to life” immediately upon the expiration of the lease. The landlord alleged that the “springing lease” never came into being and was extinguished by other subsequent agreements.

Five months after a spirited oral argument, the Appellate Division, First Department unanimously ruled, as argued by our team, that Century 21 was correct and that when the prior lease expired, the springing lease immediately came into effect.

The decision marks Rivkin Radler’s second victory in a long-standing battle over Century 21’s right to remain in its iconic and flagship store. The victory also represents a major step in the post-pandemic revitalization of Lower Manhattan.

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