WESTFIELD, NJ — Even as a sign over its window reads “now hiring,” a legal battle is being waged in New Jersey Superior Court over Addams Tavern, a much-anticipated bar and restaurant said to be opening soon in Downtown Westfield.
Tarta Luna Properties, LLC, filed a civil complaint against Harvest Restaurants Group and its owners Aug. 17 claiming that construction on the building 115 Elm St. was done without the landlord’s consent, that some of the changes made to the building violate laws and that the landlord has become “increasingly concerned with the structural integrity of the purported improvements.”
According to the complaint, which was obtained by TAPinto Westfield, Tarta Luna wants to increase its rent because Harvest’s expansion of the building means it is now leasing 6,800 square feet, rather than 4,264 square feet. The complaint also asks the court to force Harvest to halt construction and award compensatory and punitive damages.
The court did not force Harvest to stop construction, but Addams Tavern will not be allowed to open for business without the court’s permission. A decision could be reached next week.
Harvest Restaurants Group began construction in or around February of 2015 without the landlord’s consent, according to the complaint, which asserts that Harvest misrepresented itself in its construction permit applications, wrongfully identifying itself as owner in fee, thereby keeping Tarta Luna from being aware of the progress of the applications and any changes.
Tarta Luna alleges that the restaurant group made numerous revisions and changes to its plans, “none of which have been submitted to Tarta Luna for its review and consent.”
Among other claims in the complaint: That Harvest did not get the easements required for a roof overhang that extends over neighboring property and additional handicap parking.
When a new second-story wall was bolted to the wall of the building next door without permission, according to the complaint, stop-work orders issued by the town were believed to have remained unenforced.
In addition to anchoring its wall to that of 125 Elm St., Harvest damaged that property’s driveway and parking lot with heavy equipment and was advised to cease and desist, according to the complaint.
Harvest Restaurants Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.