Once a big player on Mission Street, a clothing store prepares to shut its doors
It announces the store’s closing, but the bright yellow banner hanging in front of House of Jeans could easily be seen as another sign: that Mission Street is shifting from a district of bargain and produce stores catering to Latinos and the working class to a play land for the well-heeled.
A little over three decades ago, the clothing store at 2645 Mission near 22nd Street did such a gangbuster business that owner Norm Anand launched more than a dozen other stores along the street based on that success. Now, as the tony new condo project Vida takes shape and the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema prepares to open on the street next year, Anand is down to just three stores and working on shuttering the flagship business due to what he claims are the unscrupulous tactics of his new landlord.
On May 29, Mission 22nd LLC acquired 2639 to 2645 Mission Street, a three-story, 11-unit building, which is also home to a sports store and residential units. As a result, House of Jeans’ rent went from $4,350 to $6,500. Then, a month ago, Anand said he received a 3-day notice to vacate and was told he owed back rent. Anand still has three-and-half years left on his lease and said he owes nothing save for September rent which he is withholding at the advice of his lawyer. He claims the landlord agreed to buy him out if the landlord terminated the lease early, is now reneging on that deal, and that the rent money he supposedly owes is for months before the sale of the building.
“They just unnecessarily want us out,” he said.
Michael Yancey, managing member of Mission 22nd LLC, declined to say what months Anand owed for but that “House of Jeans is substantially in arrears in their contractual rent.
“They are being evicted for not paying the delinquencies on their lease,” he wrote in an email.
Anand provided Capp Street Crap with copy of the first amendment to his lease that he and his son and co-tenant Nitin Anand signed May 1. He said it confirms that Mission 22nd LLC agreed to buy out the remainder of his lease for $50,000 plus two months of base rent should it decide to end the lease early.
“We accepted. We said, ‘we want to get out.’ We never heard anything,” Anand said.
But according to Yancey, the landlord simply negotiated an option to buy out the lease, and whether to do so or not was the landlord’s sole discretion.
“It was not an OFFER to buy them out. Landlord has decided not to exercise their ‘option,’” he wrote.
Yancey said there are no long-term plans for the building but confirmed that buyout offers had been made to residential tenants upstairs. Anand thinks otherwise, noting that architects have been by to take measurements in the store’s basement.
In the meantime, Anand said he’s not sure what his next move will be.
Mission 22nd LLC claims he owes $18,000 and is also suing for $5,700 in attorney fees. Anand said he can’t afford to pay his lawyer to fight it in court because he owes on taxes, is dealing with other legal troubles and because sales have dwindled at House of Jeans. These days the store typically brings in only $200 or $300 a day although Ananda said he could probably continue to scrape together rent because business at his other stores is better.
“They have money,” he said, referring to Mission 22nd LLC. “They have big pockets we don’t have.”