Highland Village Lockout Drama: Step Away from the Tootsies!

HIGHLAND VILLAGE LOCKOUT DRAMA: STEP AWAY FROM THE TOOTSIES! What tenant lockout techniques at the Highland Village Shopping Center lack in effectiveness, they make up in chutzpah: Employees and shoppers arriving for the second day of the big sale at Tootsies this morning found the stores’ windows blacked out, the sign blocked, and the concrete path to the front entrance jackhammered and blocked off with cones and temporary fencing. But that’s no obstacle at all for the sale-obsessed: Black-booted employees of the upscale women’s boutique simply ushered shoppers in through a side entrance for deals on dresses, handbags and shoes! Shopping center CEO Haidar Barbouti announced plans last year to demolish the Tootsies building and replace it with 100,000 square feet of multi-level retail space and an underground parking garage. Tootsies’ long-term lease expired on December 31, but the company’s new store at West Ave hasn’t opened yet. Can’t they work something out? A Highland Village spokesperson tells Culturemap that landlord and tenant have not met “in several years.” Bring on the lawyers! [Culturemap]

21 Comment

  • Well, that was Friday, wonder what happened Saturday…..

    I’m not a shopper there but still, I’d love to hear the “behind the scenes report”….or be a fly on the wall when at long last *they* do meet again.

    I’ll stay tuned.

  • I guess Haidar Barbouti thought he would save himself some attorney fees on an eviction by just tearing up the sidewalk so no one could access the store. I suspect he will wish he had just paid those attorney fees which will probably pale in comparison to the attorney fees he will have to pay if Mickey Rosmarin sues him. Which Mickey Rosmarin probably won’t. But probably should.

    Not real good public relations for Highland Village in any case.

  • If the lease ended at the end of 2010, how can Tootsies possibly think they still have a right to occupy the space.

  • From greggo:
    If the lease ended at the end of 2010, how can Tootsies possibly think they still have a right to occupy the space.

    It’s called holdover. We have laws. Believe it or not. The law doesn’t allow a landlord to just rip up the sidewalk in order to force the tenant out. It may be his sidewalk but the tenant has rights to access via the sidewalk until a court declares the tenant is no longer the tenant. The real question is whether Mickey Rosmarin paid rent for the holdover period. And if the landlord accepted it.

    I suspect Mickey Rosmarin will just give the landlord the three-finger salute and move on to obviously better things.

  • I have no dog in this fight, but a simple Google search will produce much information about Barbouti’s past business practices. And we’re not talking about retail.

  • Ah. The wonderous dance of commercial/retail leasing. If Highland had a replacement tenant, Tootsies would be out on the street faster than you could say “you could feed a village in Bangladesh for a year for what that evening gown costs.” And I wouldn’t be surprised if Tootsies was letting the rent trickle in to the landlord. And I would be surpised if the landlord just happened to find the money to do some much needed repair work outside the main entrance, making sure that no expense was spared in erecting safety fencing to protect Tootsies’ customers. And until the new Tootsies is ready, the dance will continue. What is up next? A good sandblasting during a gala trunk show?

  • Pretty crummy planning on the West Ave. construction by the Rosmarin crew.

    Of course, they were busy holding the West Ave. landlord upside down, emptying his pockets, so, financially Rosmarin did just fine, irrespective of the desperate sale-seekers…

    Given that the space was available plenty early, gotta think hardball negotiations on the new lease caused this “glitch”, and concessions made everything all right.

  • oh man, that google search paid off:
    Libya-Iraq illegal arms dealing in the 80’s, kids stealing proprietary technology and transferring to other countries, etc. not sure which barbouti runs this stuff but talk about his family dragging their name through the mud.

    the idea of highland village being bought with money earned by illegaling transferring materials to Libya to build a chemical plant is quite comical, and yet feels so appropriate.

  • If my memory serves Tootsie’s has been in that location since before there was a Highland Village. Anyone else recall when Highland Village was baically a trashy strip center with not much more than a drugstore and a video rental place? I don’t think it was even a Blockbuster video, like a mom and pop one.

    Am I way too old?

  • Tootsie tootsie pop pop pop… me love toots

  • “Libya-Iraq illegal arms dealing in the 80′s, …” Wasn’t this also the Bush family business back in the day?

  • From markd:
    “Libya-Iraq illegal arms dealing in the 80′s, …” Wasn’t this also the Bush family business back in the day?


    Probably still is.

  • Barbouti’s uncle was Saddam Hussein’s arms dealer for many years, he(the uncle) is not a citizen of the United States.

  • Maybe the uncle is like that Bandar Bush guy?

  • Sounds like both landlord and tenant are engaging in self-serving (and ultimately self-destructive) douche-bag-ish behavior. This is very common at the end of a lease / tenancy–particularly if there was a history of animosity and / or lease violations in the past. Since vacancy is a the one thing landlords fear and loathe more than any other, we’ll often put up with questionable behavior from a tenant–even minor lease violations–in order to keep the tenant in the space as long as possible. But as soon as it’s clear that the tenant is moving on and not renewing the lease, the gloves come off.
    I think both parties will end up with a bit of a black eye–but the “greedy landlord” tends to come out the worst for wear from a publicity standpoint in these types of public spats, even if they are “legally” in the right.
    No matter what the legal situation, an anchor tenant with a history as far back as Tootsie’s at this location should have been given a champagne send off and a gold watch. That would have been the classier move on Highland Village’s part.

  • yeah, tootsie’s is legendary among the fashion peeps in town since it was a local success story in fashion for texans.

  • To Anon – You are not too old. I can remember when Highland Village was a quaint shopping strip in the 50’s. Long before Tootsie’s was a gleam in anyone’s eye. But, then I can recall the first Boutique in Houston – Carl’s. Itg was before the Galleria was built and was in the strip that now houses Just For Feet – etc…

  • I can remember back when Tootsies was a small store selling Hawaiian shirts and costume jewelry. A far cry from what it eventually progressed to.

  • From Matt Mystery:

    From markd:
    “Libya-Iraq illegal arms dealing in the 80′s, …” Wasn’t this also the Bush family business back in the day?


    Probably still is.
    January 10, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    That’s funny considering that gun running seems to be Obama’s hobby. (Fast & Furious, Syria, Libya, et al.)

  • Surely you jest. Sounds more like a thug than the president of the U.S.

  • Oh crap, should have put: /sarcasm.