Even the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School of the West Village is not immune to the damning rent hikes that have forced innumerable institutions to shutter throughout the city in years past. The ballet school has been forced into a rent showdown with the owner of a West Village building that has housed several of the institution’s students for years. If something doesn’t give, the famed school just may be forced into bankruptcy.
The Post says Sabet Group, who scooped 61 Grove Street for $24 million as Joffrey was negotiating to purchase the building in 2014, has more than doubled the school’s annual rent from $40,000 to $108,000. The building has 12 apartments that Joffrey uses to house just a few of its 300 full-time trainees who attend the school on the corner of West 10th Street and Sixth Avenue.
Sabet Group gave the ballet school 30 days to accept a multiyear rent deal, or else relocate the students from the building at Grove Street and Seventh Avenue. Despite the downright awful condition of the building’s apartments, Joffrey tried to push on and sustain the rent. But the school missed two payments, for which owner Sabet Group is now seeking $800,000 through a lawsuit filed with the Manhattan Supreme Court.
Joffrey moved the students out of 61 Grove Street last summer yet paid rent through October. Sabet Group claims that they worked out a deal with Joffrey to fork over $200,000 per month in outstanding payments.
"There’s no way to pay that," Joffrey’s executive director Christopher D’Addario told the Post, referencing the sum sought in the lawsuit. "We can’t pass the cost onto the parents...We couldn’t afford it. We have 200 musicians and instructors that work for us. These people depend on us for a paycheck." Joffrey charges $2,299 per month for "performance track" classes.
Sabet Group's inflexible rents also forced famed drag lounge Boots & Saddle to relocate after more than four decades in the building.