Shopping center, tenant in dispute over vacated retail space

Kelly Holleran Jan. 13, 2010, 5:12pm

The former location of Texas Careers/Kaplan College at the Gateway Shopping Center.

A landlord has filed suit against the tenant of a Beaumont retail space, alleging if failed to return the premises to its original condition when it vacated the space.

Lombard Realty Investments Texas and Ledgebrook Texas claim defendants Texas Educational Ventures LLP as successor in interest to Dennis Bradshaw doing business as Texas Careers, Educational Ventures Texas Inc., Quest Education Corp., Kaplan Higher Education Corp. and Kaplan Inc. had a lease agreement with them for a large space in the Gateway Shopping Center in Beaumont.

The plaintiffs say the lease included an agreement that upon termination, defendants would undo any modifications to the property and return it to its original state.

Originally, the space was divided into four separate retail spaces, but the defendants converted it into one large commercial space and constructed classrooms, doorways and work areas, according to the complaint filed Jan. 7 in Jefferson County District Court.

When the defendants terminated their lease in October, Lombard and Ledgebrook requested they return the premises to its original condition, but the defendants have failed to do so, the suit states.

According to the complaint, on Oct. 1, 2000, Dennis Bradshaw, doing business as Texas Careers, entered into a sublease agreement with Baptist Hospital of Southeast Texas for 4,267 square feet in the Gateway Shopping Center at 164 Gateway in Beaumont.

Bradshaw entered into a Standard Shopping Center Lease with Beaumont Gateway Partners for lease of another 8,783 square feet of space in the same retail center on Oct. 13, 2000, the plaintiffs claim.

On Dec. 5, 2001, Beaumont Gateway Partners and Bradshaw amended the lease, joining the two premises into one space of 17,250 square feet, according to the complaint.

In their leases, the defendants agreed to return the premises to the same condition in which they existed at the time of the commencement of the lease, the suit states.

On Jan. 4, 2002, Bradshaw assigned the lease to Texas Educational Ventures LLP, whose general partners are Quest Educational Corp. and Educational Ventures Texas Inc. Texas Educational Ventures LLP, Quest and Educational Ventures Texas are all subsidiaries of Kaplan Inc., the suit states.

On May 16, 2005, Beaumont Gateway Partners transferred its rights in Bradshaw's lease to Lombard Realty Investments and Ledgebrook, the complaint says.

The premises originally existed as separate retail spaces, rather than one large school-oriented space, the plaintiffs argue.

The plaintiffs say they will now incur damages to return the premises to their original condition.

They claim breach of contract and breach of guaranty against the defendants.

Lombard and Ledgebrook are seeking actual damages, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, attorneys' fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Gregory A. Savage and Sidney C. Watts of Hoover Slovacek LLP in Houston will be representing them.

The case has been assigned to Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court.

Kaplan College is now located near Parkdale Mall in the large building that previously housed Circuit City.

Jefferson County District Court case number: E185-629.

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