One New York developer is suing another for half a million in unpaid rent at a Midtown synagogue.
The Chetrit Group claims that developer Sharif El-Gamal owes nearly $500,000 in rent for 1384 Broadway, Crain’s reported. The complaint, which was filed by Juda Chetrit in state Supreme Court in Manhattan on Wednesday, alleges El-Gamal has not paid rent since April.
El-Gamal subleased the space to the Garment Center Congregation in 2014, but both leases expired in June, court documents show. Chetrit alleges that El-Gamal hasn’t forked over rent, and hasn’t surrendered the space.
The synagogue, meanwhile, has been closed down since the early days of the pandemic — although a lawyer for the Chetrit Group said the lease is with an entity controlled by El-Gamal directly, rather than the worshippers.
“Our client has no ill will or direct relationship with the congregation, which unfortunately has been dragged into this dispute because it is our tenant’s subtenant,” Brett Thies, the lawyer representing Chetrit, told the paper.
El-Gamal’s attorney told Crain’s that the synagogue had requested more time to vacate its space before the lease expired, because the pandemic made moving the synagogue’s belongings too risky for its primarily elderly congregants.
The suit follows another by the Chetrit Group, which alleged that Discovery Communications owes June and July rent for its offices at 850 Third Avenue.
El-Gamal is also the subject of a separate dispute surrounding his condo development at 45 Park Place in Tribeca. In order to prevent a foreclosure, the project’s lenders allege that El-Gamal, whose Soho Properties is developing the 667-foot tower, threatened to strike out the development’s air rights to lessen the value of the property. [Crain’s] — Georgia Kromrei