A restaurant in Burlington’s Old North End will likely close by the end of July because the management says the building’s landlord is demanding a 150% increase in rent.
The management of the Little Morocco Cafe at 294 North Winooski Avenue says a lease renewal they received Thursday ups the monthly rent from $2,000 to $5,000. The managers agreed to speak as long as their names are not used.
Hinsdale Properties is located in the same building as the cafe, and according to a map on its website the firm owns and manages 294 North Winooski Avenue. Hinsdale’s office was closed late Thursday, and the company did not reply to multiple interview requests.
“That’s the Church Street Marketplace rent rate,” management said. “On Winooski Ave., there’s absolutely no way that we can afford, or anyone else that I know can afford, to come up with this.”
According to the restaurant’s cafe’s website and social media channels, the landlord is not willing to negotiate a lower monthly rent. Little Morocco’s management says they were given a deadline of Friday or they would be asked to vacate the premioses by July 31.
“If, by tomorrow, we don’t agree to his lease renewal terms … we’ll be obliged to close our doors,” they said.
The management added that being a minority business owner is already difficult, especially within the last several years.
“The COVID pandemic played a lot of tricks on our industry and on a lot of mom-and-pop shops,” management said. “But yet, we still have to deal with these kinds of things that actually put more pressure on us not to be able to be successful.”
This story will be updated when additional information is available.