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Battle over closed Allston club and its liquor license moves into court: Landlord moves to evict tenants who have stopped paying rent; tenants sue, alleging fraud and a leaky roof

The owners of the violence-plagued Garage on Linden Street and the group that once hoped to turn it into a hi-fi club are now battling in court over the space, even as the Boston Licensing Board plans to consider whether the space still warrants a liquor license.

On May 20, Alex Matov and Andrian Shapiro, owners of both the former Garage and the building it occupied through their Partners Properties of Quincy, filed an eviction notice and $2.03-million claim against Sound Logic - three pop-up hi-fi entrepreneurs - for both past and future rent and real-estate taxes through 2028. They need to evict Sound Logic from the still unused space to make way for what they say will be a new tenant: a Mediterranean restaurant.

Two days later, Sound Logic - Stephen Rosenberg, Lukas McCarthy and Jhayson Hardy - filed its own suit against Matov and Shapiro, in Suffolk Superior Court, alleging the pair in fact owe them some $800,000 - the money Sound Logic says it has wasted renovating a space with a leaky roof based on a lie that Matov and Shapiro had an active liquor license to sell them, rather than a suspended license that the Boston Licensing Board might take away completely next month.

In its filings, in Brighton Municipal Court, Matov and Shapiro said they might also go after Sound Logic for an additional $1 million Sound Logic allegedly did to the premises in the several months it was paying rent and attempting to renovate the former hip-hop club into an LGBTQ-friendly quiet space that would play music on specialty hi-fidelity equipment, at volumes low enough for people to still have conversations.

In its filings, Sound Logic says Partners lied about the status of the liquor license it proposed selling - or leasing - because the license has been suspended by the Boston Licensing Board since May, 2022, when the board ordered the club closed. That action came after gunfire just a few hours after the board had let Garage re-open following another suspension for a double shooting a few months earlier.

The license is formally held by the Russian Benevolent Society, which Matov and Shapiro took over several years ago and used to change a once sleepy nook in which Russian emigres could enjoy a weekly meal into a boisterous hip-hop club.

In addition to the license issue, Sound Logic charges that if anybody was doing damage to the space, it was Partners, which it says refused to fix some 15 leaks in the building's roof as required by their lease. Instead, Sound Logic charges, Partners had metal pans installed under the ceiling to catch incoming rainwater - right above where Sound Logic was planning to install some of its more expensive audio equipment and where its planned dance floor would go.

Last November, the Boston Licensing Board gave Partners six months to do something with the license or it would take it away and award it to somebody else. At a hearing last week, Matov told the Licensing Board he had a new buyer for the liquor license, who would rent the space for use as a Mediterranean restaurant.

The board gave him until June 10 to file a signed agreement for the sale of the license - which on the open market could go for more than $600,000 - and proof he and the proposed new operator have started the process for formally presenting the new plans to neighbors and the Allston Civic Association. Failing that, the board, which has long said it is fed up with Matov, said it would revoke the license at a June 26 meeting.

A judge in Brighton court has set a June 26 hearing on Partners' claim. However, Sound Logic has filed a motion in Suffolk Superior Court to combine the two cases there.

Complete Sound Logic complaint (21M PDF).
Partners' initial eviction notice (635k PDF).
Partners' court filing (635k PDF).

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Comments

When there was a story last week about how Sound Logic was dropped from the license application, I was wondering what happened. A year ago there was some positive press about how Sound Logic was trying something new and had sunk a ton of time and personal money into their new concept. An inclusive lounge with high quality music and reasonable volumes would be great.

Now it's clear how they got completely screwed over -- not surprising considering the building's owner. He was basically hoping they'd renovate the space for him while being a pawn to getting his liquor license back.

Hopefully they win this lawsuit, plus legal fees, and this assholes loses the license outright.

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