Despite some recent positive developments and a series of successful benefit performances including Kid Dynamite, Gorilla Biscuits, Bouncing Souls and many others, the Bowery Residents Committee has elected to not renew the lease of legendary NYC rock club CBGB.
Muzzy Rosenblatt, the committee's executive director, said:
[The Bowery Residents' Committee] has already been forced to divert precious funds and resources toward a lengthy rent dispute with the club and believes it is in the best interest of our clients -- the homeless and neediest New Yorkers -- to sever this relationship, We hope that CBGB will vacate the premises both voluntarily and expeditiously.
Even with the apparent finality of that statement, club owner Hilly Kristal said he will fight to keep the club open and shows set for CBGB and CB's 313 Gallery will go on as scheduled. "If they try to lock us out, they would be doing so illegally," Kristal said.
The dispute between the club and the Bowery Residents Committee dates back five years, when the committee went to court to collect more than $300,000 in back rent from the club, a case which was recently ruled in CBGB's favour.
According to this story, the gentrification of the East Village area in which CBGB's is situated convinced the resident's committee that it could ask for significantly more than the club's current $19,000 rent.
Steven Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band and the Underground Garage radio show has been a vocal spokesperson for saving the club. He commented that CB's most recent proposal met Rosenblatt's conditions, including a proposed rent increase, new security deposit and a third-party guarantee fund. Van Zandt said:
We have the mayor, the governor, everyone in New York is supporting CBGB, except for one guy,We have to now address this one guy and explain to him why he is not more important than the entire city of New York.
Councilman Alan Gerson, whose district includes CBGB, said if the committee didn't change its mind about offering a new lease, the city may reconsider new funding for the nonprofit because it was not listening to the community's wishes.