Cugini’s Pizzeria in SLO closing after 15 years

kleslie@thetribunenews.comFebruary 11, 2014 

Cugini's Pizzeria & Trattoria is closing its restaurant in San Luis Obispo's Marigold Center after 15 years.

TRIBUNE STAFF — newsroom@thetribunenews.com

Cugini’s Pizzeria & Trattoria will close its doors Feb. 20 after 15 years in San Luis Obispo due to a lease misunderstanding between the owner and the property manager, Cugini’s management says.

Louise Pippin has owned the 1,200-square-foot restaurant on Broad Street for eight years. She said she was notified in October of new terms on her lease, which she had questions about. Among the new terms was an additional monthly service charge on top of her $4,020 monthly rent and 6 percent of her baseline profits, she said.

After attempting to contact Kimco Realty Property Management, which owns the Marigold Center where Cugini’s is located, Pippin said she did not hear back from the agency and continued to be charged for the space, so she assumed everything was fine even though she did not sign the new agreement.

Then in December, she said, she received an eviction notice stipulating that she had to be out by the end of the month.

When she contacted the company, saying she hadn’t known anything was wrong, Pippin said she was told that a Kimco representative had “made every attempt to contact her” and she was in violation of the lease. Pippin denies ever hearing from the representative, adding that if a representative spoke with an employee, she never received the message.

Pippin was given until Feb. 20 to vacate the premises.

“I’m just devastated,” Pippin said. “Customers are coming to me asking if there is anything they can do, and I’m just like, ‘No.’ ”

Late last year, Pippin invested $200,000 into opening another Cugini’s in Santa Maria, partly to help pay for improvements she needed to make to the San Luis Obispo location.

She called the decision “lucky,” because now she will have another location to run Cugini’s out of until next year, when she hopes to move into another shopping center in San Luis Obispo.

She said she would not attempt to move back into her previous spot in the Marigold Center.

David Bujniki, vice president of investor relations and corporate communications for Kimco, said he could not comment on the situation between Pippin and the company because Kimco policy does not allow comment on existing or past tenants.

“What I can say is Kimco maintains a very good dialogue with the 7,000 tenants it has, resulting in us having an occupancy rate of over 94 percent,” Bujniki said.

Kimco Realty is a publicly owned real estate investment company that manages more than 850 shopping centers across North America, totaling 125 million square feet. It reported annual revenue at $946.7 million in 2013, according to CNN Money.

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