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TAKING ON “TRAMPLE CROW”

By Sally Giddens |

Update The battle is still raging between tenants of Trammell Crow’s Apparel Mart and their landlord.

The rents are running us out of business,” says JOE CHASENS, 74, a rag merchant who’s been in Che Mart longer than most of the current management. He and other tenants complain that while real estate rents have dropped drastically during the last five years, rents at the Apparel Mart have remained at a premium. At the same time, they say, there has been a fall-off in retail business. Chasens says that the average rental rate at the Mart is some $22 a foot, while other buildings alone Stemmons lease space for as little as $8.50 a foot. But Chasens says reps can’t take advantage of the savings because they are held hostage by a landlord that he calls “Trample Crow” Moving away from the critical mass of manufacturers and reps in the Mart could mean death for these independent businesspeople.

donna knox, president of the Apparel Mart, says the Mart is pledged to doing “everything we can to strengthen the apparel industry in Dallas.” So far no tenants have withheld rent or threatened to abandon the Mart. But some of the tenants have filed a discovery lawsuit against the Dallas Market Center Company to find out if the taxes, utilities, and interest they pay as part of their leases are being administered according to contract.