UPDATE: Chicago Real Estate Daily reports that a Cook Country judge has ruled that Texas de Brazil must leave the space within 60 days. Our path to a Chicago edition of the Mario Batali-Joe Bastianch super-Italian-food-court-and-store Eataly is getting longer. As initially reported here, Eataly has plans to move into the space of the former ESPN Zone in River North, but to have the space it wants— bigger than the plenty big New York outlet of the chain originally founded in Turin, Italy— it also wants to take over another space occupied by the steakhouse Texas de Brazil. As Chicago Real Estate Daily points out, the landlord (Macerich Co.) is all for this, because Texas de Brazil has been behind on its rent due to traffic below projections since virtually its start. But behind or not, Texas de Brazil has a lease until 2018.
So Macerich and Texas de Brazil made a deal that allowed Macerich to terminate Texas de Brazil's lease with proper notice in return for reducing the chain's rent, both of which Macerich did, telling Texas de Brazil it had to be out by January 31 of this year. But now Texas de Brazil is saying they didn't exercise that option correctly according to the deal. Unfortunately for Eataly, an attorney who looked at the contract tells Chicago Real Estate Daily that "both sides have a good case because the termination clause language is ambiguous." So now it comes down to, how tight a squeeze can Texas de Brazil put on Macerich to make way for Eataly, who would surely begin looking elsewhere if the case appeared to drag on for very long. For their part, Eataly insists they will still open in 2013— which is a little more wiggle room than the date of September 2013 they gave the New York Times some months back. [Chicago Real Estate Daily]