New-York News

Landlord doesn't want Sleep No More to use Chelsea building anymore

The farewell performances of immersive theater production Sleep No More may be cut short thanks to a lawsuit from its landlord.

The suit, filed Friday in Manhattan state Supreme Court, accuses Sleep No More of violating the city’s administrative code by not having a public assembly permit for its space at 530-542 W. 27th St., the site of the McKittrick Hotel near the High Line in Chelsea. Public assembly permits cover safety issues such as seating plans and fire prevention.

Sleep No More’s last temporary public assembly permit expired in January 2022, and its ongoing productions “can only be viewed as an attempt to maximize profits while blatantly disregarding the life, security and safety of the thousands of weekly guests” who attend, the lawsuit alleges. It puts on eight shows per week, and roughly 1,600 people attend them, according to the lawsuit.

The show tells the tale of William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” but has guests decide what to see and where to go, giving each visitor a unique experience.

Landlord Centaur Properties is asking the court to issue an injunction stopping Sleep No More from using the property for its shows. The company wants permission to lock the entrance to prevent patrons from going in as well.

The lawsuit may just speed up Sleep No More’s closure if successful. The company had announced in November that it planned to close Jan. 28, with producer Jonathan Hochwald telling The New York Times it was due to rising production costs. However, the group has since pushed back its last performance to April 28 following “an outpouring of admiration as we bid a final farewell,” its website says.

Noah Levenson, the attorney for Centaur Properties, had no comment on the suit, and representatives for Sleep No More did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Centaur Properties bought 530-542 W. 27th St. in 2007 for $29.4 million, property records show. The building used to be known for dance clubs like Spirit in the 1990s, when West Chelsea was a nightlife hotspot.

Sleep No More began leasing space in December 2010 with the rent starting at $200,000 per month, court records show. Its latest lease is supposed to run through January 2032, with the rent currently at $438,000 per month and ultimately increasing to about $534,000 per month, according to court documents.

Centaur Properties is based on Fifth Avenue in Midtown. It was founded in 1996 and focuses on properties in Manhattan’s SoHo, Tribeca, Chelsea, West Village and Flatiron neighborhoods. The firm’s website still touts that it “was instrumental in creating the home for the acclaimed theater show Sleep No More.”

C. J. Hughes contributed reporting.

Eddie Small , 2024-03-11 17:27:40

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