lambretta toronto

Toronto pizzeria closing location due to huge rent increase

A Toronto pizzeria is saying their landlord went back on their promise not to make huge rent increases, and they're going to have to close their doors.

Lambretta's Roncesvalles location has been through a tough past couple of years, and this isn't the first time they thought they might have to close.

In May 2020, the restaurant was faced with having to close down at that location with owner Celina Blanchard telling blogTO that the landlord, Daniel Pitoscia of Liberty Atlantic Inc., did not seek financial assistance from the government.

People in the neighbourhood contacted the landlord, and after receiving Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance he was able to lower their rent by about 30 per cent so they could reopen.

Now, Blanchard says the rent is going back up again by 30 per cent and she doesn't think the restaurant will survive the yo-yoing effect in Roncesvalles, posting about the closure of the business on social media.

"Our attempt to negotiate a new lease has failed due to his unrealistic DEMAND of more than 30% RENT INCREASE as well as no consideration for all the damages/lost business/equipment tampering we incurred during the expansion of his building," reads the post on Lambretta's social media.

"Despite this, I still attempted to negotiate fair and equitable lease terms with Daniel, because it would give me a chance to continue operating this business in a neighbourhood that we love and love to serve."

The post also goes on to say that their hope was to recover some of the losses incurred during the expansion and lockdowns, and that there were hopes to relocate within the neighbourhood but costs were too high and they couldn't find an appropriate space. The lease at the current Roncesvalles space expires at the end of January 2023 and they've been trying to renegotiate.

"The landlord, Daniel Pitoscia, would only agree to another five-year term if I drop the lawsuit that is pending and the bonus of 30 per cent increase in rent," Blanchard tells blogTO.

"It would be very foolish of me to drop the lawsuit because he caused significant damage to my business and he knows he will lose in court. We were supposed to have a trial date by now."

She says courts have been backed up and there have been delays due to restrictions and lockdowns.

"I tried to settle this matter with him in exchange for an extended lease and some rent abatement, but he refused," says Blanchard. "He strongly believes he can get another tenant that will pay him more rent than the current amount, and I am paying more than the market price, $11,629.71."

Lambretta has another location at 1151 Davenport Rd. which Blanchard has actually been looking into selling to fund relocating the Roncy location.

"Nothing has panned out as of yet. Then I received news this weekend that my landlord has possibly negotiated another tenant for March 1st, 2023.  It now leaves me with no option to sell my chattel and goodwill and I have no choice but to vacate the premises," says Blanchard.

"I was hoping that I would either sell or relocate so that we can keep Lambretta going and I could save the livelihoods of my team and myself, along with having the opportunity to recoup my losses."

The last day for Lambretta at 89 Roncesvalles Ave. will be January 28, 2023.

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