Landmark at 57th Street

Source: Photo: Erica Lange

Landmark at 57th Street

A spokesperson for Landmark Theatres owner Charles Cohen has said the cinemas are “not in jeopardy” amid an ongoing legal battle between the billionaire realtor and lender Fortress Investment Group.

The statement comes after last week’s (June 10) decision by a New York Supreme Court judge postponing a $534m foreclosure filed by Fortress, which alleged debt defaults by Cohen Brothers Realty related to seven properties.

The judge said the foreclosure would not be “commercially reasonable” under the Uniform Commercial Code (USC), according to a report in The Real Deal real estate news outlet. The USC is a set of common rules governing commercial transactions adopted by every US state.

The decision means that a scheduled July 1 auction of Cohen Brothers Realty commercial assets including a hotel, office building, and 35 cinemas, has been postponed. Fortress has until July 15 to revise its filing.

On Thursday a spokesperson for Cohen said, “Our theaters are not in jeopardy and Landmark will continue to support the independent film community. We have recently upgraded our Sunset location and remain committed to both our loyal filmgoers and our brand chain wide.”

The spokesperson continued, “This is a complicated commercial situation but it’s business as usual for Landmark. An injunction has been granted by the New York Supreme Court and there is no sale.”

Last week’s New York Supreme Court ruling offers a temporary reprieve for Cohen Brothers Realty after a failed attempt in April to dismiss the foreclosure.

On that occasion Cohen argued that it had not defaulted on the $534m loan after it modified loan terms last December with Fortress to defer payments and extend the loan until the third quarter of 2025, for which he put up ownership stakes in two Manhattan buildings as collateral.

Cohen claimed Fortress subsequently withdrew from the agreement.

According to The Real Deal, were Fortress to come back with a new plan by July 15, Cohen would have two weeks to object. Fortress had not responded to a request for comment at time of writing.

Screen understands the US legal situation does not impact Cohen’s ownership of the Curzon arthouse circuit in the UK.