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Law firm sues landlord over Seaport lease increase

Nutter, McLennen & Fish today sued the owner of Seaport West, the tall curved brick office building across Seaport Boulevard from the World Trade Center, over what it says is an outrageous $1-million annual rent increase.

In its complaint, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, the law firm says West Office Operating Limited Partnership calculated what it claimed the law firm owed for the 131,000 square feet on four floors it leases based on a deliberate misinterpretation of a lease provision dating back to the turn of the millennium that should no longer be in force. The building was a joint venture between developer John Drew and Fidelity Investment's real-estate wing.

The provision relates in part to Nutter's share of the "payments in lieu of taxes" the landlord makes under a tax-break program approved for the formerly desolate land near the World Trade Center in the 1990s. Nutter says its lease says that its current annual lease should be based on its payments from the year before but that the landlord instead based an increase on what Nutter paid in 2010.

Nutter at first refused to pay the increase, but says that after West Office sent a "default notice," it began paying the extra amount - under duress.

Nutter is seeking a jury ruling that it's right plus damages and legal fees - it hired a State Street firm to bring the case.

The court docket does not yet show a date by which the landlord has to reply to the suit.

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PDF icon Complete complaint393.62 KB


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Comments

Hmm, big law firm vs big Seaport developer. I'm not sure who I want to root against in this one.

No matter who wins, they're each making way more money than most of us could ever dream of, and for what societal benefit?

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I am sure that Nutter can afford it. Law firms must be so much fun to have as tenants.

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Are we talking about going from $1mil/year to $2mil? or $13mil to $14mil?

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Too bad the desolation isn't good for property taxes and income taxes from new jobs.

Well, I've been priced out for a while and my grapes turned sour.. At least life in the city can be wonderful and affordable for some people.

DJ Slim B... throw me some 1980s Northern Ave ghostland photo links!

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...to bring a lawsuit?

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Lawyers know enough to consider all the facts and the law and weigh the likelihood of possible outcomes. Lawyers like everyone else may be subject to the bias of emotion, hence the old adage, "a lawyer who represents himher/themself has a fool for a client."

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