Rising rents have already shuttered most of the famed music shops that spanned West 48th Street — and which were frequented by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones.
But now, left with limited options, Roberto’s Winds — one of the final nearby music shops in the neighborhood that has stood the test of time for nearly 40 years — has been forced out.
Known as a place for woodwind instruments, repairs and rehearsal space, the shop was located at 149 W. 46th St. — until an eviction notice moved them down to 39th Street, according to the Real Deal.
But the owner of the music shop, Robert Romeo, is not going out without a fight — filing a lawsuit against landlord Montague-Lee Limited Partnership this week, alleging they breached their own leasing terms by prematurely terminating the agreement without warning them months in advance.
Roberto’s Winds had initially signed a commercial lease back in 2013, which extended through October 2022 with the option of a five-year extension. But as the pandemic hit, the shop suffered like most retail, and it was unable to pay rent from April 2020 until December of that year.
Roberto’s tried to pay off the debt after it received $300,000 from New York’s Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, but the owner refused to accept the money, even after benefitting from its own federal PPP loan, legal documents obtained by TRD show.
The music store is now requesting $2 million in damages.
“This is a classic example of a landlord using its relatively strong bargaining position to force a tenant out,” an attorney for the business told the outlet.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.