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Simon unit suing Stir Crazy chain for unpaid rent

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The owner of Castleton Square Mall in Indianapolis is suing a former tenant of the shopping center for nearly a half-million dollars following the tenant's abrupt closure last month.

Castleton Square LLC, a unit of locally based Simon Property Group Inc., filed the suit Jan. 25, alleging the Stir Crazy restaurant chain owes $471,031 in unpaid rent.

Castleton Square filed its suit three days after the chain closed its Asian restaurants at Castleton Square and Greenwood Park malls.

Employees complained that the restaurant closed without giving them notice.

Stir Crazy is part of  Chicago-based Flat Out Crazy LLC, which operates Stir Crazy and Flat Top Grill locations in several states. The chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in New York on Jan. 25. It lists both assets and liabilities ranging between $10 million and $50 million.

“I think they’ve been having trouble nationally, and [the local closings are] a piece of the bigger puzzle,” said Steve Delaney, a restaurant expert at the locally based Sitehawk Retail Real Estate brokerage.

Flat Out Crazy referred comment on the Castleton mall lawsuit to Steven Lerner, a Cincinnati attorney who is handling the company's bankruptcy. Lerner did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Stir Crazy signed its last lease with Simon at Castleton Square Mall in June 2011 and stopped paying rent sometime after that. The mall owner declared the lease in default in November, according to the suit.

The Asian stir-fry restaurants opened locally nearly five years ago as part of a retailer reconfiguration that replaced the defunct L.S. Ayres department stores at the two malls. Both are owned by Simon.

In recent weeks, the chain also closed restaurants in Illinois and Minnesota.
 

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  • I'm shocked
    You don't dig a half million dollar hole for two locations without being seriously in arrears. Simon had to know this was coming. If not, they're even dumber than I thought, and that's saying something.

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  1. PJ - Mall operators like Simon, and most developers/ land owners, establish individual legal entities for each property to avoid having a problem location sink the ship, or simply structure the note to exclude anything but the property acting as collateral. Usually both. The big banks that lend are big boys that know the risks and aren't mad at Simon for forking over the deed and walking away.

  2. Do any of the East side residence think that Macy, JC Penny's and the other national tenants would have letft the mall if they were making money?? I have read several post about how Simon neglected the property but it sounds like the Eastsiders stopped shopping at the mall even when it was full with all of the national retailers that you want to come back to the mall. I used to work at the Dick's at Washington Square and I know for a fact it's the worst performing Dick's in the Indianapolis market. You better start shopping there before it closes also.

  3. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  4. If you only knew....

  5. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

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