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Gen X evicted in Federal Way due to unpaid rent and taxes
The Gen X store in downtown Federal Way was evicted Jan. 21 after the clothier apparently failed to make much of its 2010 rent and property tax payments to the building owner.
A representative of Gen X said the company tried to negotiate with the property owner, Florida-based National Retail Properties Inc., over unpaid rent. The representative said that Gen X is looking to open a new location in Federal Way, or maybe in Kent or Auburn.
“We plan to open a new store in Federal Way,” said Jay Kim, who identified himself as an office manager working out of a regional Gen X management office in Tacoma. “But there’s nothing to confirm right now.”
Kim said he was at the store when the eviction notice was served on Jan. 21, and that it was not a surprise. He said the store had already been shut down and merchandise was in the process of being moved out.
Kim estimated that between five and seven employees were working when the store closed. They were all offered jobs at other local Gen X locations — there are stores in Lakewood and Lynnwood — or at a possible new local location. Kim said the employees all declined the offer.
Legal action against Gen X began over the summer. National Retail Properties sued Gen X and two company executives, Chris Seijung Oh and Seikyung Oh, in King County Superior Court after several months of missed rent payments. The lawsuit alleged that Gen X did not pay rent in May, June or July. Back rent, late fees and interest accrued to $54,924.70 by July, according to the suit.
Gen X signed a 10-year lease with National Retail Properties in 2003 at a rate of $21,896.88 per month. The lease was later amended to require that Gen X pay property taxes, according to the suit. National Retail Properties apparently paid those taxes after Gen X failed. According to King County records, $23,532.94 in taxes was paid on July 19, and another $21,046.78 was paid on Nov. 1. The suit is not clear as to whether National Retail Properties paid just one or both of these bills.
When asked why there was back rent, Kim said that “sales (were) going down.”
A settlement was apparently reached around November. The settlement, according to the suit, would have allowed Gen X to remain in the building if it paid $20,000 on Dec. 1, $25,000 by Dec. 25, and the remainder of the settlement — which totaled $146,372 — by Dec. 28. However, the terms of the settlement were apparently not met, according to the suit. A final judgment against Gen X was made on Jan. 6 in the amount of $50,060.46.
By December, rent was still outstanding for the remainder of the calendar year.
National Retail Properties spokesman Chris Barry said that the building has not been leased yet, though the company is looking for tenants. He described the property as a “strong retail location.” The building is located on one of the busiest corners in Federal Way at the intersection of Pacific Highway South and 320th Street. Barry said that his company bought the property in 1998 when it was a Good Guys electronics store. Good Guys stayed until 2002, and a Halloween store leased it until Gen X took over in 2003.
Gen X was founded in Utah in 1998. It has since expanded as far east as Kansas and Georgia, and up and down the West Coast. The store sold a variety of youth-oriented clothing like screen printed T-shirts, fashion denim and puffy winter jackets from designers such as G-Unit, Ecko and Dickies.
A notice taped to the front door of the former store from the King County Sheriff’s Office advertises the eviction.
Next to the eviction notice is a handwritten note that simply reads, “Closed.”
On a recent day, the inside of the store was a mess of clothing racks, mannequin parts and leftover clothes. The front door was open and a man who described himself as a “representative of the bank” said he was there to remove the phone system and allow Gen X managers to remove leftover merchandise.