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Bottom Line Granted Reprieve

Club still trying to land deal to prevent eviction

September 25, 2003 12:00 AM ET

New York City music club the Bottom Line won a month-long reprieve yesterday that could prevent the shuttering of the legendary venue.

The Bottom Line, a popular New York live music venue for almost thirty years, was in danger of being evicted by New York University, which owns the property at 15 West 4th Street, where the club has resided since 1974. Owners Allan Pepper and Stanley Snadowsky had fallen behind in rent payments in excess of $180,000, prompting the eviction proceedings. But Sirius Satellite Radio has stepped in and posted $185,000 in escrow to cover the venue's outstanding debt.

With the back rent covered, Pepper and Snadowsky now have a month to renegotiate their lease. The owners maintained that they had every intention of repaying their debt, but were hesitant to do so until the Bottom Line had a long-term commitment from the university that it could remain at its current location. The club has been operating without a lease for three years, and the University thinks that its $11,000-per-month rent is undervalued by fifty percent.

Pepper appeared in a Manhattan Civil Court yesterday and struck the temporary deal outside the courtroom during a recess. If no agreement can be reached over a future lease, the $185,000 will be returned to Sirius, a commercial-free satellite radio provider that often broadcasts shows live from the Bottom Line.

"The day didn't start out very well, though we definitely turned a good corner," a spokesperson for the club said. "We still need to keep the pressure on. But we've remained optimistic since day one."

The Bottom Line's events calendar is currently booked through October 31st, when the club will again host singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock. Should eviction be avoided, the Bottom Line would celebrate its thirtieth anniversary in February. The club has hosted a broad spectrum of musical styles and genres over the years, and is the place where Bruce Springsteen took his first steps towards superstardom with a five-night stand in 1975.

The club has been the recipient of an outpouring of support from musicians and fans, and Pepper has received hundreds of emails, many from NYU alumni. "Some of the happiest memories of their years here are of discovering music at the Bottom Line," he said.

More information about the club and its plight is available at bottomlinecabaret.com.

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