San Antonio's Alamo Drafthouse Park North fighting back in rent dispute with unforgiving landlord

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Theater chain Alamo Drafthouse has fired back in an ongoing rent dispute with the landlord of its Park North location after skipping more than $660,000 in rent payments due to the pandemic, the San Antonio Express-News reports.

The theater chain stopped paying rent on its location in the North Side retail development after the business temporarily closed in mid-March due to  directives intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The landlord, however, refused to accept the pandemic as an excuse, last month suing for back in state district court in San Antonio.

Now, the Express-News reports, Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse has filed a complaint of its own.

“Since March 18, 2020, [the theater] has not generated a single dollar of sales revenue, as it is impossible and illegal to operate as contemplated by the lease,” according to Drafthouse’s complaint.

The chain argues that operating while state directives banned large gatherings would have put it in violation of its lease, the daily reports.

According to Drafthouse's complaint, the lease states it can’t use the space for any purpose “which is forbidden by or in violation of any law, ordinance or governmental or municipal regulation, order, or certificate of occupancy, or which may be dangerous to life, limb or property.”

The court document cites the more than 1,000 Bexar County deaths attributed to COVID-19.

“I don’t know how they can say they are prevented from doing business at this time,” John D. Fraser, a Plano attorney representing the landlord, told the Express-News. “These are novel arguments, which we’ll address in the context of the lawsuit.”

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