Rising rent and a property tax increase more than three times the city average, brought on by a real estate boon, are taking 29 Newbury as the latest restaurant victim, the Boston Globe reports. The upscale American bistro, which opened in 1983, will close at the end of this month.
29 Newbury owner Debbie Lewis, who turns 60 on April 30, the restaurant's last day, bought the business in 1986. She was paying month-to-month rent at 10% of the restaurant's monthly sales, which she says decreased only during this difficult winter for Boston restaurant owners. Landlord Donald Saunders told the Globe that the property value of the four-story building, which houses 29 Newbury on the ground level, rose by more than 20% this year. "I can no longer afford to subsidize Debbie Lewis’s business. We love her. She’s a great lady and has a great restaurant, but the taxes are too high," he told the Globe.
The restaurateur said her landlord did not speak with her before ending her tenancy. In a statement, Lewis said, "I am absolutely heartbroken to shut my doors after 30 years ... I never expected this to happen either and it is not my choice." 29 Newbury employs 30 full-time staffers and 40 during busier summer months; Lewis said she feels the most concern about their well-being and plans to provide references.
The president of the Back Bay Business Association told the Globe, "Small independent businesses are increasingly going to be priced out. It’s going to change the character of Newbury and Boylston."