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Fashion Mall landlord suing tenant over unpaid rent

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A division of Simon Property Group Inc. is seeking to evict a tenant from its Fashion Mall space on Indianapolis’ northeast side for failing to pay rent.

SDG Fashion Mall LP’s lawsuit against Brisbane, Calif.-based Bebe Stores Inc. accuses the women’s clothing retailer of owing $64,000 in unpaid rent.

Bebe has occupied 4,163 square feet of space at the mall since July 2005, when it signed a 10-year lease.

The company paid $60 per square foot, or $249,780 annually, during the first three years of the lease. The amount increased to $64 per square foot, or $266,432 annually, during the fourth year and to $68 per square foot, or $283,084 annually, during the seventh year.

Simon informed Bebe on July 2 that it had defaulted on the lease; the developer filed suit in Marion Superior Court on July 23. Simon is seeking immediate possession of the space.

The store remains open. A call to the company Monday morning wasn't immediately returned.

The publicly traded Bebe opened its first store in 1976 in San Francisco and operates 312 stores worldwide. It reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings on July 9 and said retail sales for the period fell 2.5 percent, hurt by waning store traffic. Company shares were trading at $6.20 each on the NASDAQ exchange late Monday morning.

In January, Simon filed a similar suit against the ownership of the Bella Vita Italian restaurant at its downtown Circle Centre mall, accusing it of owing $77,275 in unpaid rent.

That suit also is pending in Marion Superior Court.

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