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RXR Claims Ralph Lauren Owes Millions In Unpaid Rent At Chelsea HQ

The Starrett-Lehigh Building in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood.

Workers might be on their way back to their offices, but landlords suing their tenants for unpaid rent hasn't yet gone out of style.

RXR filed a lawsuit against Ralph Lauren with the Supreme Court of New York on Monday, claiming it is owed $2.6M in unpaid rent for office space at the Starrett-Lehigh Building, Crain’s New York Business first reported

The fashion retailer signed a lease in 2018 for 343K SF of office space at the property, adding to the 100K SF it already had at 601 West 26th St. It agreed to pay $1.9M in rent per month for the space, according to the lawsuit. 

In the lawsuit, RXR claims Ralph Lauren failed to pay the $381,538 per month that it owed on a portion of its office space between December 2020 and May 2021 as well as the $127,179 it owed on the space for the month of November 2020. 

The developer was supposed to complete work in August and September on this portion of the office but claims that Ralph Lauren wouldn't let it, instead requesting a cost estimate for the work, according to the lawsuit. 

RXR alleges it told Ralph Lauren that the work would have to be delayed if it did not respond to emails about starting the work. The landlord says it didn't hear back after multiple attempts to contact its tenant, and reached out in early September to let the tenant know it would be required to start paying rent on the space. Ralph Lauren claimed it was under no requirement to do so, per the lawsuit. 

“Tenant's only response …  was via a letter dated October 19, 2020, which did not dispute any of the above-reviewed facts or chronology,” RXR states in the lawsuit. “But rather asserted that Tenant's obligations with respect to the [portion of the space] have been entirely ‘discharge[d]’ in view of the doctrines of 'impossibility' and 'frustration of purpose.’” 

The work that was originally expected to be done in September is set to be complete by next month, RXR claims in the court filing.

RXR spokesperson David Garten declined to comment on the ongoing lawsuit but told Bisnow in an email that the landlord had made “numerous attempts to resolve this matter constructively.” Ralph Lauren did not respond to Bisnow’s request for comment.