Toronto bar is permanently closing but owner and landlord dispute reasons why
A Toronto sports bar has announced they have to close, alleging it's because their landlord wants to replace them with a bar of their own.
"We are closing because our landlords have decided they want our location at 2282 Queen St. East to open their own bar."
Current owner Jeya Sell has been running the business for nine years, having taken it over in 2013 after saving money by working in the kitchen and bar of a Gabby's in the same area.
The announcement recounts years of rent paid on time, $6.99 breakfasts, hugs and celebrations with guests, and two packed floors during the Raptors championship playoffs.
"It was unfortunate that our landlords failed to share with us their plans to take over until making it official on October 1, 2021," the announcement continues.
"Giving us just 30 days to pack up and move on, when our lease was originally set be over in February 2022."
The announcement also says this will be displacing five bartenders, three kitchen staff, a manager, the owner and his family, and that the owner is currently looking into options to remain a bar owner in the same neighbourhood but is still working out the details.
Fill Station will be closing on Oct. 30, and invites people to come out and see them during their remaining days.
A conflicting Facebook post was made on Oct. 15 on behalf of the Fill Station landlord, saying that Sell chose to end the lease on his own and leave early and that the landlord wouldn't be able to ask them to leave before the lease was up. The landlord did not wish to be named.
"The landlord was always accommodating and only asked for 25 per cent of the rent when COVID hit and the government was paying 50 per cent," reads the post. "Since March of this year the government has been covering 65 per cent of his rent and still the landlord agreed for him to pay 25 percent."
The post also says that the landlord was planning on increasing the rent in February 2022, and that people shouldn't be complaining about rent being raised at this time.
"Anyone with a head on their shoulders knows full well that the landlord cannot ask him to leave before his lease is up. The only way a landlord can do that is to lock him out for rent not paid," the landlord tells blogTO.
"And that is not the case here. Jeya chose to end his relationship early when the government is not subsidizing him any more."
The landlord says Sell was not kicked out of the space so that the landlord could open his own bar.
"He chose to leave early breaking his lease and didn't agree to the new lease offered. The landlord has lost a lot of money since COVID giving him a break with rent," the landlord says.
"His rent has been below market value since the landlord took over seven years ago. The landlord asked for market value with the new lease and he didn't like it."
The landlord told blogTO he had no plans open a bar of his own in the space before Sell left.
"I didn't have plans to open a bar in this space as I did offer Jeya a new lease and he declined it," the landlord tells blogTO.
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