Cafe Classico, a kosher delicatessen that has occupied the storefront on West 57th Street next door to an 1891 French-style townhouse for 19 years has asked a judge to spare it from eviction, the New York Post reports. The LeFrak Organization and Vornado Realty have plans to build a high-rise tower on the next-door property at 29 West 57th Street, and the deli’s landlord, 35 West Realty Co., has threatened to evict the longtime business over insufficient insurance coverage.
The deli’s landlord claims its $1 million liability policy instead of a $2 million policy is in violation of its lease, which runs through 2040; but Cafe Classico has said in a lawsuit now in Manhattan Supreme Court that its landlord is simply motivated to boot the eatery so the developers can progress with their “major development project.”
The deli says it’s the only holdout, holding fast in the five-story building next to an empty space where three buildings stood–including the limestone mansion that was formerly home to the iconic Rizzoli Bookstore. The restaurant says it hasn’t violated its lease and claims the “unique and irreplaceable” business has invested $500,000 in the building over the years.
Warren Estis, a lawyer for the landlord, says the eviction has nothing to do with the development next door. “We’re not part of the demolition next door. That’s separate and distinct from us.”
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