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  • The Bergen Record

    Paterson mall owners move to evict IHOP over $1M in unpaid rent, fees

    By Joe Malinconico,


    PATERSON — The IHOP restaurant at the Center City Mall closed down on Saturday, amid a court battle involving allegations that the business owners owe more than $1.1 million in rent and other payments.

    Center City filed court papers seeking the IHOP’s eviction on June 6, claiming the business owners, Foya Foods LLC of Irvington, had defaulted by not showing up for a trial scheduled to start that day.

    Center City claimed Foya Foods owed $516,756 in back rent, $196,624 in mall common area management fees, and $387,182 from a loan for furniture, equipment, and other expenses from when the IHOP opened at the mall in 2016.

    The monthly rent for IHOP was $8,500, according to the complaint filed in New Jersey Landlord-Tenant court last November.

    Neither Foya Foods nor its attorney in the Center City lawsuit responded to messages seeking their comments about the shutdown and litigation.

    At time the IHOP opened, the mall owners highlighted the new restaurant as a sign that the long-struggling shopping center located in the middle of Paterson’s downtown area was on the rise.

    Mayor Andre Sayegh, who frequently holds press conferences and makes social media posts about the opening of new restaurants in Paterson, did not respond when asked for his thoughts on IHOP’s demise.

    Ruben Gomez, who oversees the mall for its owners, Alma Realty, declined to comment on the Foya Foods litigation.

    Gomez said at present about 83% percent of the mall’s space is occupied. For many years, that rate had been less than 60%.

    “In the last three years, we attracted some little guys who have filled in the space,” Gomez said, adding the mall has gotten about 12 new tenants in that time, including a photo studio, florist, and nail salon.

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