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    Developer wants Quincy pub closed. Bar owner suing while paying big rent increase

    By Peter Blandino, The Patriot Ledger,

    2024-06-11

    QUINCY – A small Irish pub in Quincy Center is suing its landlord, one of the city's largest developers, for $1.32 million, according to court filings.

    Gerry Hanley and his wife, Diane Hill, owners of Paddy Barry's Ales and Spirits at 1574 Hancock St., claim that their landlord, a subsidiary of real estate developer LBC Boston, violated their lease by rejecting their five-year lease extension option and ordering them to vacate the premises by June 1 or face eviction proceedings.

    In 2020, LBC Boston bought the property with plans to demolish the current building and develop 215 apartments over six stories and 12,000 square feet of retail space . The parties haven’t agreed on how Paddy Barry’s fits into this vision, and the dispute has landed in Superior Court.

    Paddy Barry's and landlord battle over a lease, eviction

    The year before LBC Boston bought the property, Hill and Hanley signed a five-year lease with the previous owner that expired May 31. That lease included an option to extend for an additional five years at a rent mutually agreed upon by both parties.

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4PL88P_0tnfqLdB00

    In its answer to Paddy Barry's complaint, LBC Boston's attorney argues that Hanley and Hill violated the lease by failing to keep the bar code compliant and that the extension option is invalid and unenforceable because it doesn't specify a rent amount, but rather is "an agreement to agree."

    Neither LBC Boston nor its attorney responded to a request for comment.

    Paddy Barry's sought an order from a Dedham Superior Court judge barring LBC Boston from initiating eviction proceedings, but that motion was rejected. Judge Joseph Leighton said that the prospect of an eviction hearing does not constitute the "irreparable harm" needed to obtain the requested order.

    'One of the very few real pubs left.' Could Paddy Barry's quarter-century in Quincy Square be coming to an end?

    In 1998, Gerry Hanley saw a notice in The Patriot Ledger advertising a bar for sale in Quincy Center. Then 46, the immigrant from Ireland who had previously owned a pub in the old country, decided to make an offer. He opened Paddy Barry’s that June and has run the bar ever since.

    He named it Paddy Barry’s after a landmark pub in Cork, Ireland, where he’s from.

    “It’s easy on the tongue,” he said of the name during an interview.

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2hkHG7_0tnfqLdB00

    In the late '90s and early 2000s, Irish immigrants flocking to South Boston and Quincy made up 80% of Paddy Barry’s clientele, Hanley said.

    In recent years, the ratio has flipped, with younger, American-born customers who have recently moved to Quincy making up the majority, while the older generation of Irish immigrants now comprise about 20% of his customers.

    The narrow, dimly lit barroom retains its original flooring and wood paneling, its walls covered with bric-a-brac and curiosities accumulated through the decades. Hanley and Hill said its old-school atmosphere lies at the heart of its unique charm.

    “We’re one of the very few true pubs left in the city center,” Hanley said.

    Six years ago: Last call at Sully's

    The same demographic shifts that have brought a new wave of customers may ultimately close the book on Paddy Barry’s 26-year run in Quincy Center, as new residential towers replace older tenants.

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1R265R_0tnfqLdB00

    Does Paddy Barry's run a nightclub in Quincy Center?

    The dispute began in June 2022, when LBC Boston sent a hired inspector to conduct an inspection of the bar. Shortly thereafter, Hanley received a notice from LBC Boston alleging that he violated the lease by running a nightclub, among other complaints.

    Hanley denies that Paddy Barry’s is a nightclub, saying that the bar has a cabaret license from the city permitting it to offer entertainment such as DJs, one- to three-piece bands and karaoke.

    LBC’s inspector cited a raised platform to the left of the bar, which he alleged was recently installed, as evidence of the nightclub. Hanley said the platform is a space for musicians to perform and patrons to play darts.

    “It’s what we’ve had for 25 years with no problem,” he said.

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=45WzNC_0tnfqLdB00

    LBC Boston lists other issues including accumulated dust in the bathroom air vents, fungal growth in walk-in refrigerators, unsafe electrical cords in the basement and buckled wood floors, according to court filings.

    In the complaint, Paddy Barry's characterize the inspection report as "a pretext to (LBC Boston's) ulterior motive of ejecting (Paddy Barry's) from the premises prior to the term and extension options so that (LBC Boston) ... may develop the premises as soon as possible."

    Hanley said the city’s building, fire and health departments conduct inspections annually, and that in 26 years he has never failed to comply with safety or health codes.

    In response to the LBC’s inspection report, Hanley said he fixed what he felt was his responsibility and also sent a list of issues he said were the landlord’s responsibility to fix, including a leaky roof, a malfunctioning rear door, nonfunctional exterior lights, broken glass blocks and more. In court filings, LBC Boston denied Hanley fixed the issues cited by the inspector.

    Inspectional Services' online records show certificates of inspection going back to 2018, all without issue. This would include 2022, when LBC sent its own inspector.

    Paddy Barry's owner said buyout deal fell apart

    Months later, in March 2023, LBC and Paddy Barry’s began to negotiate a buyout, according to Hanley, and there was a deal in place for him to vacate in return for a sum of money at the end of June 2023, a year before the expiration of his lease.

    Hanley said the landlord backed out of the buyout deal.  He would not say how much money was involved in the failed buyout negotiation.

    “I’m 72," Hanley said. "We were ready to go. We told our staff and began to wind down. We had to reverse all that.”

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4UItut_0tnfqLdB00

    What were the Quincy's bar's options? What the owners will do now

    Hanley said LBC offered him two alternative locations for Paddy Barry's instead of money.

    One was on the ground floor of LBC Boston's properties, Nova Quincy and Nova Suites, that stretch along Hancock Street between General Dunford Drive and Cottage Avenue, Hanley said. The other was next to Petco in a building LBC owns on Parkingway. City officials say that IHOP is slated to move into that space after its original location across the street was taken by eminent domain.

    But Hanley said the alternatives weren’t suitable due to lack of storage, scant parking and proximity to residential apartments and a senior living complex.

    At the end of 2023, Hanley and Hill sent LBC Boston notice they would exercise a 5-year option to extend their lease, which they say LBC rejected based on the violations cited in the 2022 inspection report.

    How much is Paddy Barry paying for rent?

    In the rejection letter, LBC’s attorney wrote that if the lease were extended, the new rent would be $9,660. Hanley and Hill had been paying $3,428.

    In court filings, LBC Boston said that the $9,660 rent was not an offer and that the parties never agreed on a mutually acceptable rent for a lease extension. It claims that any delay caused by Paddy Barry's remaining as a tenant in the building, which is slated to be demolished, would cost the company $200,000 every month in opportunity losses.

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    In its complaint, Paddy Barry's includes a real estate listing by Commercial Property Advisors for the future development on Hancock Street on PropertyShark.com dated Jan. 23, 2024.

    The listing gives a price of $35 per square foot annually. Hanley said this is 5.5 times less than the $9,660 LBC Boston referred to in the letter rejecting Paddy Barry's extension option, which for Hanley's 600-square-foot bar amounts to $193.20 per square foot.

    LBC Boston denied marketing the site, according to court documents.

    Hanley and Hill said that although they believe $9,660 is way out of line with rent prices in the area and was meant to scare them away, they paid it when their previous five-year lease expired May 31.

    “It's going to be difficult, but we'll pay it,” Hanley said. “The future is uncertain for us. We fully intend to stay open while this is making its way through the courts.”

    Peter Blandino covers Quincy for The Patriot Ledger. Contact him at pblandino@patriotledger.com.

    Thanks to our subscribers, who help make this coverage possible. If you are not a subscriber, please consider supporting quality local journalism with a Patriot Ledger subscription. Here is our latest offer.

    This article originally appeared on The Patriot Ledger: Developer wants Quincy pub closed. Bar owner suing while paying big rent increase

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