Volume 75, Number 28 | Nov. 30 - Dec. 06, 2005

CBGB may move west, really west, as in Vegas, after a year

By Ronda Kaysen

CBGB, the iconic Bowery music club, won’t be in the Bowery much longer. The club’s owner is hashing out a deal with his landlord to part ways and move his 32-year-old establishment to another locale in the city or as far away as Las Vegas.

Club owner Hilly Kristal has been mired in a bitter dispute with his landlord, Bowery Residents’ Committee, over his lease, which was not renewed in September. The dispute, which included a lawsuit — on which the judge ruled in the club’s favor — regarding unpaid rent, has reached the mayor’s office.

“We can fight and fight and unless you convict them of a crime, what can you do? There’s not much you can do. That’s the law,” said Kristal of fighting the eviction notice.

Now Kristal is hoping to negotiate an extension through the end of October 2006. After that, CBGB would find a new home. One possibility is an empty building on the Lower East Side on Delancey St., but it is in need of a $2.5 million renovation. He is also eyeing the far West Side of Manhattan where the city entertained the idea of building a Jets football stadium.

Kristal says he might hand over $90,000 in disputed rent he has stored away in an escrow account so he could stay another year and avoid an appeal for the disputed rent. After the year is up, he is ready to move on. “I don’t have a taste for being here. They didn’t even want me to fix my lights upstairs… You can’t get along with people like that,” he said.

If Manhattan doesn’t work out, Kristal might head westward for Las Vegas. “It’s not going to be glitzy. Inside, it’s going to be CBGB,” he promised of a Sin City move.

Muzzy Rosenblatt, executive director of Bowery Residents’ Committee, did not return calls for comment for this story.

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