Boston threatening to evict Faneuil Hall Market landlord
City demands $2.1m in dispute related to tenant rents
BOSTON OFFICIALS are threatening to evict the company that leases Faneuil Hall Marketplace for failing to make a $2.1 million payment to the city – a hardball move that comes after the firm refused to forgive rent owed by marketplace tenants.
The director of the Boston Planning & Development Agency sent a letter on Monday to the Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., which leases Faneuil Hall Marketplace, informing the company that it is in default for failing to make its required $2.1 million in-lieu-of-taxes payment this year and for having a lien on the property as a result of owing a contractor money.
In a thinly veiled threat of eviction, Brian Golden wrote to Ashkenazy that the agency “reserves the full extent of its rights and remedies under the lease and under applicable law with respect to the identified defaults.”
Ashkenazy has 10 days to make the payment and 30 days to remedy the lien problem.
“After months of negotiations and advocacy by the City of Boston and BPDA in support of the locally-owned small businesses at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, we are disappointed that Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation has been unable to provide the necessary financial relief to support the Faneuil Hall merchants,” Golden said in a statement. “At the same time, [Ashkenazy] has failed to meet its own obligations under their lease with the BPDA. Based on their failure to stay up to date on the required [payment in lieu of taxes] to the City of Boston, we have determined it is necessary to move forward with a notice of default. As the landowner of the historic property, we will continue to take all the actions within our power to support the small businesses that make Faneuil Hall Marketplace the successful and beloved destination that it is.”
A spokesman for Ashkenazy did not immediately return a request for comment.
The Ashkenazy company, which purchased the management rights to Faneuil Hall Marketplace for $140 million in 2011, has a reputation for playing hardball with its tenants here and elsewhere.
Under the terms of a 99-year lease that expires in 55 years, Ashkenazy, which has a $12 billion portfolio, pockets all the rent paid by the marketplace tenants. In return, the company makes an annual payment-in-lieu-of-taxes to the city of Boston, which this year amounts to $4.2 million. It also pays the Boston Planning & Development Agency the nominal sum of $10 a year in rent. The planning and development agency is a separate entity from the city.
Under pressure from city officials, Ashkenazy agreed earlier in the year to defer merchants’ rent payments, but only for the months of April, May, and June. Mayor Marty Walsh and Golden say more rent relief is needed, and have been locked in a bitter battle with Ashkenazy for months to forge a better deal for the marketplace merchants.
The merchants say they had no revenue coming in during the pandemic shutdown and have seen only a small amount of business return after their July reopening.