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Ben’s Deli negotiations back on at Bay Terrace

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Representatives from Ben’s Deli and its Forest Hills−based landlord said they have resumed negotiations to allow the popular eatery to remain at its current Bay Terrace Shopping Center locale after a deal fell through last month.

Scott Singer, president of Ben’s Deli Kosher Delicatessen Restaurant, and Mary Hughes, vice president of leasing for Cord Meyer Development LLC, both said they were “hopeful” that a new deal could be struck between the deli and the Flushing landlord.

In November, the two had criticized each other after talks to build a new Ben’s Deli at Bay Terrace collapsed following six months of negotiating.

At that time, both the deli and the landlord said negotiations had been long and contentious.

Ben’s had requested two five−year options to remain in its current site at the Bayside center, but could not afford an 86 percent rent increase requested by Cord Meyer, Singer said. The landlord had offered to build a new site for the deli in another part of the shopping center, but the deal unraveled, he said.

In mid−November, Hughes said Ben’s removal from Bay Terrace’s roster was a “done deal.” The deli’s license expires in January.

But Hughes and Singer said earlier this week that the eatery and the landlord, which leases retail and commercial space and owns the Bay Terrace shopping center, had resumed talks in early December.

Hughes said she believed an “amicable” solution could be reached through the discussions.

“Negotiations are ongoing and I think they are very productive,” Hughes said. “I’m hoping we can work things out with them. It’s looking good, so I hope it will have a positive outcome.”

Singer said it was not yet definite whether Ben’s would be able to remain at the shopping center, but he said he was also hopeful that the deli would not be forced to move.

“We’re anxious for this to come to a fruitful conclusion,” he said. “If Cord Meyer can figure out a way to make it worth their while, we might be able to stay. We’re keeping a positive outlook.”

Singer said he has been contacted by several landlords with space in Bayside, but he was first waiting to see if the deli could come to an agreement with Cord Meyer. If the deli were to move, Singer said it would probably remain in Bayside.

Ben’s Deli also has stores in Manhattan, Long Island and Florida. The Bay Terrace site employs 40 people.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

Posted 6:38 pm, October 10, 2011
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