Rainbow Room to stay open, for now

NEW YORK The Rainbow Room was given a temporary lease on life Monday when a judge issued a court order allowing the iconic establishment’s operators to remain open for business despite a bitter lease termination dispute with landlord Tishman Speyer Properties.

Cipriani Fifth Avenue LLC, managers of the Rainbow Room since 1998, filed for the injunction in Manhattan Supreme Court on Monday and will be allowed to continue operating at 30 Rockefeller Center until at least Jan. 27, according to published reports.

On Jan. 9, Tishman Speyer notified Cipriani that its lease on the Rainbow Room, originally set to end in 2013, would be terminated for failure to pay millions of dollars in rent on the famed banquet hall and ballroom since last fall.

“Since September 2008, Cipriani has failed to pay its rent for the Rainbow Room,” said Robert Lawson, a spokesman for Tishman Speyer. “As a result, we are forced to end its lease. The Rainbow Room is one of our city’s great institutions, and we will immediately begin the process of finding another great restaurateur to operate the space in the first-class manner that New Yorkers and visitors deserve.”

The fighting between Cipriani Fifth Avenue and its landlord has been ongoing for months. The operator claims that Tishman Speyer had raised the rent astronomically during the length of the lease, from $4 million a year in 1998 to as much as $8.72 million annually, before it was set at $6 million annually during arbitration in late December 2008, according to published reports.

Citing the lease dispute and the recession, Cipriani had said in early January that it would close the Rainbow Grill restaurant adjacent to the Rainbow Room on Jan. 12 but that the ballroom and banquet rooms would remain open.

The Cipriani family operates several high-profile restaurants, including Cipriani Wall Street and Cipriani 42nd St. in New York, and Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy. In recent years the Ciprianis have faced a number of legal problems. Among them, in 2007 some family members pleaded guilty to charges related to tax evasion and agreed to pay $10 million in penalties and restitution.

 

The Rainbow Room, which opened in 1934 and is a well-known tourist attraction, is located on the 65th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza.