‘Birds & Bubbles’ Sues Forsyth Street Landlord for $1.3M over Rash of Flooding from Building Renovations
Birds & Bubbles closed last month without warning. Now we know why. Chef-owner Sarah Simmons is suing the landlord for negligence over conditions that essentially destroyed the restaurant.
Veracity Real Estate purchased the pair of tenements at 100-102 Forsyth in January 2016 for the enormous sum of $16 million. Shortly thereafter, the renovations (and problems began).
Simmons filed suit last week (April 12), according to Eater, alleging that the contractors hired by Veracity caused at least six floods since this past December, with water cascading out of light fixtures, damaging ceilings and floors, electronics, point-of-sale systems, and more. She seeks $1.3 million in damages.
As a result of the flooding, there’s visible mold and elevated mold spore count in the air, rated at a condition 3 (with 4 the highest), based on an assessment from Certified Mold Inspections Inc. The recommendations to ameliorate the damages include a 21-day closure and “would cost over $50,000 for each area, estimated to be over $350,000.” The company recommended removing parts of the floors, walls, ceilings, and other materials in the main and side dining rooms as well as bathrooms.
And yet, “The leaks and flooding would have to be fixed before the remediation could even begin,” reads the filing, and the restaurant cannot operate in this condition. “If the NYC Department of Health did not close the restaurant, it would be a serious liability to store, prepare or serve food to patrons considering the serious conditions caused by the mold. Serious illness can be caused by inhalation and exposure.”
Simmons has yet to respond to us regarding their closure, despite our requests for comment, but did tell Eater that, “We’ve had to temporarily close Birds & Bubbles to make some urgent and extensive repairs. In the meantime, a number of our restaurant friends have offered to give our staff new homes while we assess the extent of the damage.”
This closure reportedly followed a communication impasse between the parties, which included rent held in escrow when no remedy was floated. After the latest flood, the sixth, Birds & Bubbles discussed breaking the lease but was subsequently served eviction papers by the landlord.
Translation, it’ll be a while before they reopen.