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Regency Centers Sues Gap, Saks Fifth Avenue For Unpaid Rent

The Saks Off 5th store at Buckhead Station in Atlanta.

Regency Centers is suing two major national retailers for failing to pay rent bills at a prominent Atlanta shopping center.

Regency Centers, under the name Equity One, the REIT it purchased in 2017, is suing Saks Fifth Avenue and the Gap Inc. for their Saks Off 5th and Old Navy stores at Buckhead Station, a two-story, 234K SF power center off the Buckhead Loop and Georgia Highway 400 in Atlanta, less than a mile west of Phipps Plaza and Lenox Square malls.

Regency sent letters of default to Saks and Gap on May 26 and June 8 and claims neither retailer has paid minimum rent or upkeep costs, according to the lawsuits, filed in Fulton County Superior Court. Gap is in arrears by more than $148K, while Saks is in default of more than $125,400 in back rent, Regency claims.

The stores are next to each other and take up a combined 41,700 SF at Buckhead Center, according to Regency Centers' website.

"We are looking thoughtfully at our real estate to support the best path forward for the company as we manage through the impacts of COVID-19," Gap spokesperson Justine Jordan told Bisnow in an email. "Like many others in the industry who were required to closed stores to help slow the spread of the virus, we made the decision to not pay rent for the period that these stores were closed. We’re engaged in conversations with our landlords regarding these decisions." 

This isn't the first time that both retailers have been in the crosshairs of landlords since the pandemic. Gap warned landlords and investors in April that it would stop paying rents on properties in an effort to shore up cash. Simon Property Group sued the apparel retailer last month for nearly $66M in unpaid rent across the more than 400 Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy stores in Simon's national portfolio of malls.

One South Florida landlord sued Saks for more than $89K in back rent at a Boca Raton shopping center, the Palm Beach Post reported last month, as did the landlord of a Saks Off 5th store in Columbus, Ohio.  

UPDATE, JULY 8, 12:45 A.M. E.T.: This story has been updated to include a statement from Gap, Inc.