Mi Piace restaurant is suing its landlord and other tenants at the
Media City Center, alleging they violated the restaurant’s lease and
hurt its business.
In a lawsuit filed this week in Los Angeles Superior Court, the
Italian restaurant claims breach of contract on the part of Alexander
Haagen Properties, the initial owner of the property, and several
subsequent landlords. The eatery, at 801 N. San Fernando Blvd., also
alleges its lease was violated by several tenants in and around its
site, including In-N-Out Burger, Virgin Entertainment Group and Baja
Among the allegations are charges that Haagen Properties misled
Mi Piace officials to prevent them from erecting an outdoor patio
that was approved in the original lease. It also claims that the
property owners violated the lease by allowing Baja Fresh to sublease
building space from Virgin, which the lawsuit claims exacerbated
congestion in the on-site parking lot. The lease said no additional
restaurants would be allowed into the immediate area, the lawsuit
Since Mi Piace signed its lease with Haagen Properties in 1995,
officials said the property has been sold several times, but each
owner has failed to correct the problems.
John Byrne, an attorney representing Burbank Mall Associates,
confirmed that the company owns the property, but declined to comment
on the allegations. The other groups listed in the lawsuit could not
be reached for comment.
Armen Shirvanian, managing general partner of Mi Piace, said
increased congestion in the area has driven an untold number of
customers away from the restaurant. In particular, he said cars at
In-N-Out Burger’s drive-through lane frequently block all of the
approximately 50 public-parking spaces, leaving no parking available
for Mi Piace patrons.
The lawsuit seeks at least $1 million from the property owners,
and also asks the court to restrict Virgin from subleasing any of its
property and to order In-N-Out to limit its traffic to the areas
allocated in the lease.
While Mi Piace operates successful restaurants in Pasadena and
Calabasas, Shirvanian said the problems at the Media City Center have
prevented the Burbank location from turning a profit. Even so, he
said he still hopes the location can be a success.
“I’m always optimistic, but there has been enormous damage to our
business,” he said.
The restaurant will have to close if it does not begin making a
profit, he said.