Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tanger Outlets The Walk has different take on club 40/40's closing

Danny Drake - The "40/40 Club" is located on Atlantic Avenue in Atlantic City.

Tanger Outlets The Walk disputes statements made by a 40/40 Club spokesman in Thursday’s Press of Atlantic City that Hurricane Sandy damaged the now-closed club.

Ron Berkowitz, who was speaking on behalf of 40/40 Club owners in the report, had said Hurricane Sandy caused a hole in the roof and water damage.

The club was closed Oct. 27 as the city called for an evacuation in preparation for Hurricane Sandy, said Quentin Pell, director of public relations and communications for Tanger Outlet Centers Inc. in North Carolina.

After the club closed, there were no events held there, Berkowitz said. Donna Danielson, the GM of Tanger Outlets The Walk, gained legal access to the 40/40 club Jan. 3, she said. She found no Hurricane Sandy-related damage.

“There was no water damage to the space and no hole in the ceiling. The club was in disarray from (operations) prior to the storm, and Tanger incurred costs of $4,970 to clean the space,” said Danielson in a written statement issued Thursday.

The 40/40 brand is co-owned by rap star Jay-Z along with his partners Juan Perez and Desiree Gonzalez. The $4 million, two-level facility opened to much fanfare in October 2005.

When informed Thursday of Tanger’s dispute of his statements, Berkowitz says he spoke again to one of the 40/40 owners and was told there was water damage in the club and a hole in the roof.

There was no flooding reported due to Hurricane Sandy in the area of Missouri and Atlantic avenues where the club is located in front of Caesars Atlantic City. It is one of the highest points in Atlantic City.

The 40/40 Club launch in 2005 brought celebrities and national attention to Atlantic City as BET, VH1, MTV and other syndicated and cable TV shows, magazines and tabloids came to cover the stars attending the opening of the club, including singer and wife of Jay-Z, Beyonce, rapper and producer Diddy rapper T.I. and former basketball great Magic Johnson.

In recent years, there was trouble at the club as a video was uploaded to YouTube showing several 40/40 security guards allegedly punching and kicking two patrons outside the club in 2009.

Last year, the relationship between Tanger Properties Limited Partnership and the owners of the 40/40, who were leasing the property, soured.

A civil lawsuit was filed by Tanger against Perez and Gonzalez on March 27 in Baltimore Circuit Court. Tanger alleged that between January 2012 and March 1, 2012, more than $115,000 in rent and other charges were still owed on the 40/40 Club. When Perez and Gonzalez were made aware of the money owed, the rent was allegedly still not paid, which led to the lawsuit.

The lease was originally scheduled to last until 2015, but Tanger Outlets and the 40/40 representatives came to a mutual agreement to end 40/40’s lease of the property, Pell said. The civil suit was dismissed with prejudice Oct. 5.

There is a new tenant for the space where the 40/40 Club stands, Pell said, but he declined to identify who it is.

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