By Benyamin Davidsons
The glamourous Fifth Avenue boutique built for Italian Luxury Designer Valentino now lays empty, with bare white walls.
The posh retail store located at 693 Fifth Ave, in Midtown Manhattan had cost millions to build, using the same marble terrazzo that adorns palaces in Venice, Italy. On Friday, the landlord of the space filed a lawsuit against Valentino, saying the expensive natural stone was covered in white paint, alleging that Valentino is responsible to pay $13 million, to cover the costs of restoring the stones.
As reported by Crain’s NY, the suit filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, says that the landlord paid for the imported precious marble slabs as well as Carrara chippings to create a luxurious atmosphere at the shop, and it was supposed to be returned in the same condition.
This is not the first fallout between the landlord and Valentino. In June, after the pandemic struck, the Italian designer had sued the property holder, 693 Fifth Owner LLC, to break its lease eight years early. The fashion icon had said in its suit that the pandemic had toppled its day to day business, leaving no tourists or clients for the store, and making it impossible to operate its shop as planned. The landlord had refused to end the lease, and a judge had dismissed the retailer’s suit. Notwithstanding, in December, Valentino vacated the space. According to the landlord’s complaint filed Friday, Valentino owes a total of $207 million for the remainder of the lease as well as damages to the store.
The landlord maintains that there is $184 million worth of payments remaining on the lease, as well as the cost for repairs, and says that in addition Valentino should pay for the $15 million in rent it will forgo while repairing damage to the shop. The landlord’s lawsuit says that the retailer’s earlier lawsuit and vacate notice “were an opportunistic attempt to capitalize upon and pervert the international Covid-19 pandemic in order to mitigate market difficulties the House of Valentino had been suffering since well before the Covid-19 pandemic”.
As per Crain’s, the owner’s lawyer said they had tried to work with Valentino during the pandemic, but Valentino sued anyway, and has since signed a lease for an 8,700-square-foot store at 135 Spring St. in SoHo. “What was surprising was what Valentino left behind when it abandoned the store,” said Attorney Robert Cyruli. “The expensive, imported store installation was effectively destroyed. My client expected more from a well-known international luxury brand.”
A representative for Valentino declined to comment.