SANTA FE — Century Bank is suing the Santa Fe Railyard Community Corp. — the nonprofit that manages the 50-acre city-owned Railyard district — alleging that a new apartment development is preventing it from leasing commercial space at the nearby Artyard condominiums or selling the property altogether.
The bank, which also leases space from the Railyard corporation, is claiming breach of lease and interference with economic advantage, among others charges in the state court suit filed Monday.
In 2013, Century Bank foreclosed on Artyard Limited Partnership, owners of the Artyard condos’ commercial units on the first floor. The bank now owns seven of nine residential units and eight commercial units, which accounts for about 85 percent of the leasable space of the two-story building. A new lease was signed with the Santa Fe Railyard Community Corp. (SFRCC), with Artyard Condominium Master Association, Inc. as the agent for the bank.
Meanwhile, in early 2015 the SFRCC approved the development of a larger 58-unit, three-story apartment building right next door to the condominiums, called Railyard Flats, over the objections of the bank.
Century Bank has been actively trying to lease Artyard space, or sell the property, since May 2013 without success, according to the lawsuit.
“SFRCC promoted and approved the Apartment Development over repeated objections by Plaintiffs and with knowledge that the development was hindering Plaintiffs’ ability to enter into commercial leases at the Artyard Property, and Century’s ability to sell the Artyard Property,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit says a physical therapy office and a furniture showroom had signed letters of intent to lease space at Artyard but withdrew after notice of Railyard Flats project was published in January 2016. The bank and the association allege that they will not be able to earn market value, or will realize less, because Railyard Flats was allowed to be built.
Richard Czoski, executive director of SFRCC, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.